Before installing driving lights, get your eyesight checked. Really.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1993

Dear Tom and Ray:

I hope you can help me. My wife and I have a 1987 Nissan Maxima, which is one of the best cars we've ever owned. But ever since we've owned it, the headlights do not seem to light up the road very well. We also own a 1988 Pontiac Grand Am with driving lights that really light up the road. Should we add driving lights to the Maxima, or do you have a better idea?

RAY: Before you put driving lights on the Maxima, Phil, there are two things you should check. First, check the alignment of the Maxima's headlights. And second, check your eyesight.

TOM: Right. You don't say how old you are, but as we all know (at least those of us who have recently turned 39), night vision is often the first to go.

RAY: And unless they're factory installed, driving lights can be a real hazard to other drivers. They're often installed under the bumper, where they get knocked out of alignment by snowbanks, curbstones, and dead armadillos. And worse, they're often misused. They're designed for deserted stretches of dark road, not urban or even suburban driving.

TOM: So if you decide you really need them, make sure they're installed and aimed correctly. And make sure you don't use them when you're anywhere near other traffic. If you have them on in traffic, you will surely blind some guy coming towards you and cause an accident. Of course, with those driving lights, at least you'll get a real good look at him as he comes plowing into you, so that you'll be able to make a positive ID from your hospital bed.

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