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Flash your full beams

That's flash - not put them on for 3 seconds
(+2, -2)
  [vote for,

When stopping to let oncoming traffic through narrow spaces such as where cars are parked along the side of the road, I've noticed that a lot of people "flash" their full beams for quite some time - possibly 2 or 3 seconds, although I've never actually timed it. Thinking now, it's probably less than that.

However, it's still long enough to be quite dazzling at night.

How about this: When you do whatever you need to do to flash your full beams (on my car it's pull the indicator stalk towards you), instead of activating a switch that holds the lights on until you let go, it activates a switch that flashes them for a fraction of a second, regardless of how long you hold the stalk for? You could still use the feature as a thank you to other road users, but the momentary flash of light would be far easier on the eye.

(And yes, I know that according to the highway code the only purpose of flashing your lights is to alert other road users to your presence, but everyone does it to say thanks... except BMW drivers, of course - they do it to say "Get out of my way, how dare you impede my progress!") </rant>

kmlabs, Mar 21 2005


       If you flash them fast enough you can turn those red lights green.
(+) BTW.

       I think the over-long flashes are due to the fact that some cars don't have a 'momentary' full-beam switch - it's either on or it's off and it latches either way. If you switch from one car to another, it's very easy to 'flash' your lights only to realize after a couple of seconds that you have to actively switch them back to dip.
Basepair, Mar 21 2005

       The problem here is one of usability: how to implement this without changing any familiar function. Many folk are pushed past their level of incompetence by something as simple as a three-way switch or additional operating control.
reensure, Mar 21 2005

       It shouldn't be too tough to implement, even as a retrofit, for cars with the momentary contact style stalk control as described. A simple "one-shot" circuit or maybe even a resistor-capacitor network could drive the relay (assuming most cars still employ electromechanical relays) in the described fashion instead of a direct actuation of the relay. I don't see it as a problem needing solved, but the implementation wouldn't be too terribly daunting.   

       I have never once used my lights to say "get out of my way...".   

       I never noticed high beams used as the "thank you" indicator described. Maybe it's a regional thing...or I'm just not a very courteous driver.
half, Mar 21 2005

       I'm not sure I've ever driven a car that doesn't have a momentary switch for high beam (often called "passing beam" in the owner manuals). In Mercedes, for example, even though the headlight switch is a rotary knob on the instrument panel, the momentary switch is on the turn signal stalk.
bristolz, Mar 22 2005

       [UB] and [Bris], every car I've ever driven has had the switch as you describe. The problem I'm talking about is when someone HOLDS the indicator stalk backwards, thus leaving the lights on. As [half] says, it wouldn't be hard to rig so that even if you do hold the stalk back the lights only flash...   

       And [half] apologies for the broad generalisation of BMW drivers.
kmlabs, Mar 22 2005

       //unless that is only common to all of the cars I've owned.//
I worked at a rental car company for 6 years, it's very common. Unfortunately, my car (Oldsmobile) requires you to pull the lever back once for high beams, then again for regular. Seems like unnecessary wear-&-tear for something this simple, and it's an old car ('92 with 204,000 miles).
The only problem I can see with this idea is that some hoodlum teenagers like to get in cars that resemble cop cars and pull people over with a combination of flashing high beams and hazard signals. It's really funny, too, like that time we pulled over a car full of ---err, somebody told me that anyway, I've never done anything like that. That would be wrong.
AfroAssault, Mar 22 2005


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