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Real Sidelights

...in that, they shine from the side of your car
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I don't know if I'm unusual in this, but when driving on unlit roads at night, when a car comes the other way there is a split-second of almost total blindness where it's very hard (nay impossible) to see the road in front of you. This is becoming more common with the advent of today's super-bright headlights. I live in the country and the roads are very narrow, dark and twisty - a little extra illumination would be just the ticket. It would show you where the road is heading (if you didn't know already) as well as how much room you have to pass the oncoming car.

So how about small lights (possibly mounted underneath the sills of the car?) shining out at 90 degrees to the direction of travel. Nothing too bright that's going to dazzle, just enough light to illuminate the road. The current craze of underbody lighting (by the modders, or "boy racers" as we used to call them when I were a lad - nowadays I think it's "chavs") is, I believe, illegal, so there may be an issue here - but I'm sure there could be a way around that.

I'm wondering if I'm the only person who can see a need for this idea; my nervousness at night may stem from either the fact that my car's headlights are crappy indeed, or from the head-on collision I had on these self-same twisty roads last year...

kmlabs, Feb 07 2005

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       I hate people that can't curb their beams ... f**
reensure, Feb 07 2005
  

       With all the extra lights on my old 4x4 truck, I always had two lower powered ones angled down and out toward the sides, specifically so I could see the trail at night. (Didn't use 'em on the road... really!)
spacer, Feb 08 2005
  

       It's interesting to me how many people claim that the HID lights are harder to drive into than traditional incandescents or halogens. I find it to be just the opposite with the HIDs very effectively blocking light from being projected at oncoming eye level.   

       I don't know why undercarriage lighting is banned in some areas as it seems to really show up a vehicle to other drivers without any risk of blinding them.
bristolz, Feb 08 2005
  

       I was thinking more along the lines of a twisty country lane - particularly if it's a road you're not familiar with. You come round a bend, and there's an oncoming car. Although you may (probably) have both dipped your headlights, the sudden brightness (even though they're not pointing at you, they're still brighter than no lights at all) can be disorienting. You may not be able to see the road at all for that split second, and it may curve sharply. In the scenario I'm envisaging, you first see the other car when it's around 10-20m in front of you (or less). You could always aim just for the left of the lights (right if you drive on that side of the road), but that doesn't address the problem of making sure there's enough space to get past (some of the roads around here are little more than paved tracks).   

       I agree with you all about newer lights being easier on the eyes - but it's not dazzle I'm addressing, it's the darkness just behind the lights. Sorry if I'm not making myself clear.   

       [reensure] you're right, it's very annoying when people don't dip their lights - even when other people are flashing their lights like mad at them - how do they not realise?   

       <aside> I was very impressed the other night, I was approaching a hump-back bridge, and the driver coming the other way was nearer the crest than me - he didn't dip his lights until his car was OVER the crest, thus ensuring that his dipped beams didn't shine straight down my side of the bridge and dazzle me... </aside>
kmlabs, Feb 08 2005
  
      
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