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Light it right with Škoda Auto

Using high beams right is a big part of safe night driving, but there's more to the story

Let's face it, cruising down the highway at night can feel like navigating a tunnel. That's where high beams come in, like knightly spotlights revealing the road ahead. But who hasn't been momentarily blinded by a rogue set of high beams coming the other way? Yeah, it's enough to make you wish you were tucked in bed instead.

The truth is, misusing high beams is a major problem, especially in India (think: over 70% of drivers on highways misuse them!) (source: TOI), This may seem like a minor thing, but that blast of brightness can be seriously dangerous.

Here's the deal: high beams are like superpowered headlights angled upward to light up a distance further from the car than low beams, which power only the immediate front of the car. High beam lights are angled in such a way, they even light the top of the treeline and are directly in the line of vision for oncoming traffic, the rear-view mirrors of traffic ahead of you and pedestrians. This can be super disorienting, can blind other road users momentarily. Not exactly ideal on a dark road, right?

It is ideal to use high beams only when there is no traffic around and you are at or closer to three-digit speeds for you to see further quicker. However, if there is no divider or any visual partition between you and oncoming traffic, do not use high beams. And do not use high beams when there are a substantial number of cars ahead of you. Also, urban and residential areas do not need high beam at all.

Using high beams right is a big part of safe night driving, but there's more to the story. Here's how to level up your nighttime skills.  First things first, make sure your car's got your back. Headlights that are not aligned can leave you cruising blind. A quick check-up to make sure they're aligned and working properly is a night owl's best friend. 

Next, ditch the dirty windshield. Think of it like a blurry filter on your nighttime view. Keeping it clean, inside and out, will give you the clearest picture of the road.  Nighttime is no time for distractions, like that tempting text or any snack-and-drive adventures. Put your phone on silent, resist the urge to multitask, and keep your eyes peeled for what's happening on the road.  Here's a night owl pro-tip: double the following distance between you and the car in front. That extra space gives you more time to react if something unexpected pops up.  Foggy weather got you down? Fog lights can be your knight in shining armour, but use them wisely. They might be super helpful in a fog bank, but they can also be blinding to other drivers on a clear night.

The road is a shared space. By using high beams correctly and following these night driving tips, we can make those nighttime journeys smoother, safer, and way less blinding for everyone. Remember, seeing further doesn't mean seeing everything. Let's all be courteous night owls and keep the roads safe!

Tips

       Think Open Road: High beams are like special treats – save them for when there's no one else around. Only use them on open stretches with no oncoming traffic or cars in front of you.

       Dim It Down: See headlights approaching? Ditch the high beams and switch to low beams. It's like being a good roommate – don't blind your neighbours!

 

       Curves and Hills? Be Cautious: High beams can light up what's beyond a bend, which might mean blinding oncoming drivers. Play it safe and switch to low beams before a curve or hill.

TopGear Magazine July 2024