Dear Street Smarts,
Q: In your recent column, you wrote about some safety tips. I wish you would repeat one of them. You stated, “Turn on your headlights when it’s rainy, gloomy, foggy or overcast.” I am appalled at how many drivers make themselves almost invisible when it’s dark and rainy. Tell them to use their lights, especially black and other dark cars. We can’t see them when they blend into the roadways. It’s our lives and theirs that can be saved. Yesterday, in the poring rain, I just missed getting hit by a non-lit motorist. I didn’t see her.
Arn Ghigliazza via email
A: Sure, here’s a reprint of the blurb about the use of headlights: Turn on headlights bad weather. While driving around in last week’s storm, which featured driving rain, high winds, flooded streets and low visibility, there were drivers motoring in those conditions without their headlights on. In bad weather, turning on your headlights helps others on the road see you. Not donning the lights is against the law and is quite dangerous. The other people on the road have a difficult time seeing those vehicles that have been reduced to shadows amid the deluge that swallowed roads and sidewalks. The color of the vehicle has nothing to do with how visible it is when swirling water is coming both from the sky as well as being kicked up by the tires of all the other vehicles on the road.
According to the DMV’s website, drivers “must” turn on their headlights “from a half hour after sunset to a half hour before sunrise or if snow, rain, fog, or other hazardous weather condition requires the continuous use of windshield wipers, or when visibility is not sufficient to clearly see a person or a vehicle for a distance of 1,000 feet. No vehicle may be driven with only parking lights on. However, parking lights may be used as signals or when the headlamps are also lit.”
Read more about this and other road rules at www.dmv.ca.com.
Bike traffic school
Bike riders are invited to learn to become a more confident and competent cyclist at Santa Cruz County’s Bicycle Traffic School. It’s being offered to riders who’ve been cited for traffic infractions as well as the general public 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18, at the County Emeline Health Campus in Santa Cruz. Cost is $35 for cited cyclists and $15 for everyone else. Pre-registration is required. For information, call 831-454-5477 or visit www.sctrafficsafety.org/BikeTrafficSchool.