Thursday 21 November 2019

Reader questions: Headlights madness and how reflection of dog's eyes averted accident

Irish Independent Motoring Editor Eddie Cunningham at the wheel
Irish Independent Motoring Editor Eddie Cunningham at the wheel


In one of your recent pieces you spoke about vehicle lighting. The article said it did not make sense to flash oncoming drivers if you were being blinded by poorly aligned/not working etc lights.

I was out driving last night and decided to count how many individual vehicles (both oncoming and behind) had lighting problems.

In the space of 30 minutes of mixed motorway and built-up-area driving, I counted 47 vehicles with some sort of problem. The worse was the dreaded "cyclops" with the front driver side totally unlit.

Many of these vehicles were PSVs (mainly taxis), yet there is a total lack of any type of enforcement for the rules of the road here. I even saw a Garda vehicle among this number.

In fact, I think it is about two years since I came across any type of Garda checkpoint. In any event these checkpoints seem to concentrate totally on the usual things tax, insurance, NCT and drink driving.

This leads me to believe that our famous NCT is not fit for purpose, and serves no real benefit in this area i.e. get it right to pass the test, and then it does not matter until next time. What do your readers think?




What are your readers' thoughts on the difficulty of replacing head light bulbs on modern cars? I have a Honda Accord type S 150bhp and you would require the arm-to-body ratio of an orang-utan and have x-ray vision to replace the low beam bulbs.

I drive with the low-beam lights on at all times for safety. The first set lasted about two years and since then I have had them replaced up to three times. I found it impossible to do myself. Recently the Honda dealer actually took off the front bumper to replace the bulbs.

Head light bulbs are critical to safety and driving with a blown bulb is extremely dangerous but there is very little a person can do themselves. Gone are the days when I could lift the bonnet of my 1980 Ford fiesta, pull off the wires and slot in spare bulb that I had stored in the boot.

Car manufactures need to rethink their designs and consider that ordinary people have to replace bulbs and not high-tech robots that slot them in during assembly.

And give me back my full-size spare wheel. A can of tyre sealant is not much use after an encounter with an Irish pothole.




1. There have been great advances in car technology but we are still using 1950s-style sun visors to deal with bright sunshine. Several times I found myself blinded by low sun as I tried to adjust a sun visor or my seating position when my attention would have been better devoted elsewhere. Surely front windscreens [and driver's door windows] can be modernised to reduce this annoyance.

2. Most single carriageway national primary roads have good quality hard shoulders. Many articulated lorry drivers use them to allow following traffic to overtake. Rarely will other drivers do so even though they may not be travelling near 100kmh. Several times recently I found myself in long tailbacks while reckless drivers took chances in overtaking.

Is it not time to make it compulsory for drivers to use the hard shoulder to allow following traffic overtake?

3] Not long ago I found myself using the overtaking lane when a car suddenly stopped in front of me without any warning to turn right into a minor road.

There was no area marked for turning vehicles to stop and while there was a sign on the left hand side to indicate a byroad it was effectively hidden from me by the traffic on the left hand lane.

I suggest that all right hand turns off national primary routes should be banned unless a marked stopping area can be provided for them.

I wonder how many accidents are caused by vehicles turning right in those circumstances?

4. How many pedestrians involved in road accidents are wearing reflective jackets/vests? Should it not be compulsory to wear one if walking after dark? With an on-the-spot fine?

I once narrowly avoided a pedestrian in a lovely black overcoat solely because I spotted reflection of the eyes of the dog he was walking.


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