Kelly's Garage - Active Green and Ross - November 2015

 

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I decided to write about headlights this month after watching Breakfast Television one morning and hearing about yet another pedestrian who had been struck and killed.  It seemed like this was happening more and more once daylight savings time kicked in. I also found a statistic in the news indicating pedestrian deaths have increased 90% since 2011.  I’m sure part of the problem is many pedestrians aren’t making themselves visible enough and/or not paying enough attention when crossing the road.  The other part of the problem is that drivers aren’t seeing the pedestrians and this is due to lack of daytime light and our actual headlights.  I always say, driving is the most dangerous thing we do on a daily basis where we could actually kill someone.  When was the last time you did a circle check on your vehicle to make sure all of your lights are working properly? By the way, the next time you hear from me it will be almost 2016.  So enjoy the holidays and be safe.  If you are going to be going on any road trips make sure you stop at your local Active Green and Ross to make sure you vehicle is in good shape and won’t leave you stranded somewhere.

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Daytime running lights (DRL) became law in Canada in 1990

This month's topic: Headlights


Brief history: The earliest headlights started in the late 1880’s and used acetylene or oil. Acetylene was preferred as it was resistant to wind and rain. In 1940, it was mandated that all vehicles have two round sealed headlights and they were to be made of glass. Technology has vastly improved but their job is still the same, to illuminate the road and to be more visible.

Bad weather Tips: If you have automatic mode on your vehicle it is a good idea to use, however, if you are driving in fog, light snow or rain, you should manually turn your headlights on since the sensor may not turn them on. The full headlight system is much more visible than just your daytime running lights and don’t forget your DRL’s are only on on the front, not your rear tail lights. The Ontario government website states your headlights should be on a ½ hour after sunrise and a ½ before sunset.

Why do headlights turn yellow over time? You may have noticed that your headlights have a yellow film on them and they look hazy. This is because headlights are now made of polycarbonate plastic and since this is very porous the manufacturer covers them with a plastic film. Over time this plastic film both oxides and gets pitted. Ultimately this diffuses the beam and reduces coverage. Active Green and Ross offers headlight restoration services. Essentially what happens is they polish the lense and will help lengthen the life of the light but will need to be done once or twice a year. Eventually, you may have to replace the entire light unit and this can get costly.

Why you can’t see as far down the road as you used to? Headlights actually dim over time and this is why we can’t see as far down the road as we could before. However, this would be difficult to notice since you adapt to your headlights dimming over time. By law your headlights should illuminate 150 meters in front of you. FYI: It is estimated that 9 out of 10 crashes at night are in some way related to problems with headlights.

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