The Least Wonderful Time of the Year

J.C. Howard

J.C. Howard | Nov 10, 2017

Daylight saving time ended this week around the country and people nationwide turned their clocks back one hour—except Arizona, Arizona plays by its own rules. As for the rest of the country, some may have slept an extra hour on Sunday, and others may have accidentally went to work an hour early on Monday. It’s the season where folks start selling Christmas decorations and humming carols before they’ve even bought their Thanksgiving turkeys.

Nevertheless, it is officially the least wonderful time of the year; and not just because it’s already dark when I get off of work. No, I’m no Dickensian curmudgeon insisting a bah-humbug on passersby, it’s just the whole phantom car thing! Some of you may remember a post from a few weeks ago about the phantom cars of our neighbor to the north, Canada, and the steps that their Transport Canada Minister and lawmakers are taking to prevent those phantom vehicles.

To refresh your memory, phantom vehicles are those that are far less detectable in low-light situations; vehicles whose headlights and taillights do not illuminate automatically. While some newer car owners may have automatic headlamps, but many drivers still need to flip a manual switch inside the vehicle to ensure other drivers on the road can see them and so they can see the road.

The tough part is: while the solution is technological advancement (automatic headlights), the culprit to the problem is…previous technological advancement. The online automotive resource Edmunds has placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of backlit gauge displays and LED daytime running lights. Those lights give drivers the impression that they are visible because they can clearly see the instruments inside.

Part of the problem?

But enough is enough! Why sit idly by another autumn and winter when we can hop in the driver’s seat and do something about it?! Not only has Edmunds released an article with a few handy tips, that is good to check out, we can signal other drivers on the road, we can remind our friends and families to ensure they aren’t piloting phantom vehicles; and—most importantly—we are all literally in the driver’s seat and can make sure to turn on our own lights. Consider this a PSA: For safety sake, make sure you and your fellow drivers refrain from being a phantom menace, double check your headlamps and taillights.

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