High beam menace in Indian cities: Can we bring about a change?

There are a lot of people that drive with their very powerful high beams on in the city.

BHPian Yesterdaysnews recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

A part of this has been discussed at length elsewhere – with car lights getting more powerful, high beams are frustrating and dangerous – both oncoming and also from vehicles tailing.

I am from Chennai, and though traffic is much better off than most cities, increasingly more and more people drive with their head lights on – especially cabs and Tata Ace type vehicles.

I avoid Bangalore like the plague because of its ill mannered traffic but today I had to come into the city and drive for a few hours after sun down. There are a lot of people that drive with their very powerful high beams on in the city – much more than Chennai.

In tier 2 towns, most of the cars drive with high beams on.

Driving with High beams on when not necessary and in cities is a punishable offence under the MVA.

Could I propose Team BHP and BHPians spear head a movement including petitioning authorities to take action and curb this dangerous and frustrating menace?

I’d like to mention another group which really spear headed driving with out borders. The group, aptly named Drive Without Borders was instrumental in bringing BH registrations into force and otherwise also ended a LOT of hassling, especially in Bangalore where cops would hound out of state registered vehicles. Though the law says one can drive in other state for 12 months, Bangalore police would constantly hassle cars registered in other states and claim they could be driven in Karnataka only for 3 months. They’d ask for proof in the form of toll receipts, petrol bills etc. to show that the vehicle had entered within 3 months.

Drive without Borders was instrumental in ending this. They filed petition after petition, even met with Nitin Gadkari and other transport officials repeatedly and ensured Bh registrations were bought out, and also ended the menace of Bangalore cops collecting hefty amounts as fines and bribes.

Can we bunch together, pool in money and other resources and start a campaign to get police to legally enforce no high beam rules? And also to educate people – even those who are not on Team Bhp or have no knowledge of this forum to be not use high beams in the city, and to dim the lights in highways – both for oncoming traffic and also when tailing another car – even if there is no oncoming traffic?

Not only will this drive positive change and make Indian roads and cities safer and pleasurable to drive in, but it will also increase the credence of Team Bhp and the forums reach – taking this forum into higher heights than it already is.

We are the crème de la crème of drivers in India. We understand vehicles, engines, handling and driving manners better than a whole lot of drivers on Indian roads. Team BHP for many is the trusted source for reviews. The forum as we all know is well managed and each post and thread is meaningful, informative and powerful.

Let’s, please, now drive positive change. Let’s petition the government and authorities, file cases in courts forcing implementation, run eduction campaigns.

Let’s bring the pleasure back in driving. With increasingly good roads, educating people on how to drive with courtesy and manners is the need of the hour!

Here’s what BHPian IshaanIan had to say on the matter:

I am all for it  not aware of the processes involved but more than happy to contribute in any way possible to this cause. One major aspect is that people are not encouraged to keep check on their visual health. Many people who require glasses go on without wearing them and then use high beams to compensate for their poor vision. Heck people from less fortunate bits of society even think it is dangerous to treat their vision impairments. I had a house help lady who had cataracts and we offered to pay for her surgery and recovery yet her family advised her against the procedure because they were afraid.

If we can bring about change in this area it would be huge because that will be the first step we take toward having more considerate drivers on our roads.

Here’s what BHPian svsantosh had to say on the matter:

Just like bad road manners (lane change, honking, speeding), I feel the HIGH beam issue is also right up there as top-5. I have been shot gun in many cars in my life just you many of you here. Be it private taxis, uber, olas, family friend car, co-worker car, both inside and outside India.

You may find it hard to believe that many of the usual high beam (ab?)users are sadly from my Indian friends circle. And problem is more to do with ignorance than arrogance. I have corrected all high beam users, at least raised an objection whenever I make out the car is on high beam. You wont believe their 1st question – “Aare, how did you know I was on High Beam?” Face Palm! Right? Wrong – It just takes a few seconds to educate them about the blue indicator in the dash console and they understand it and immediately correct themselves. Yes – there are the usual arrogant ones where Law has to play its role, but many abusers I have dealt with (so called educated and civilized own car owners) who genuinely think the ‘Blue’ indicator means the ‘Light’ is turned on. The dont know that one has to drive in low beam always.

PS – I wonder at times, why make high beam lighs at all!! Our roads can be a better place to drive without them…

Here’s what BHPian electric_eel had to say on the matter:

When I moved from Kanpur to Kerala I was pleasantly surprised to find that many here actually dim the lights when they find an on coming car and sometimes all that one needs is a simple flashing if they forgot to switch back (of course there are some black sheep out there). On the other hand many do not know that one needs to use low beam even when following a car. I have found that an otherwise well driven car (no tailgating, no honking etc) often forget to switch of their high beam. As with tailgaters I start deploying my “pehele aap” strategy but some of them are too polite and respond with “nahi pehele aap” .

Plus there are those two wheelers with I guess modified lighting whose lights are painful even on a slightly cloudy days. They are the worst.

Here’s what BHPian Shreyans_Jain had to say on the matter:

I think a lot of this is because low beams are absolutely terrible on most cars. Secondly, as we generally do not have the culture of cleaning our cars ourselves, the front windscreens go dirty. Especially on the inside. That just kills visibility at night. Pushes people to use high beam to see better.

Here’s what BHPian SanjuNair5 had to say on the matter:

Part of the issue is, that’s how most newbie drivers are taught. I know a few friends and colleagues who were taught by driving schools to drive with high beam and switch to low beam only when necessary! And many of the wrong habits called out on several threads on TBHP are taught or not taught to avoid at driving schools.

That also brings me to a couple of questions that are relevant to this thread;

  • Are driving school instructors certified? Is there a program/course/something that certifies instructors for teaching/coaching others?
  • I see most (if not all) of the driving school cars carry black font on white background number plates. Shouldn’t they be yellow plates?

Here’s what BHPian Kosfactor had to say on the matter:

Your call to improve road manners is certainly a good initiative.

Imagine yourself being a new driver learning to drive, you have to deal with the controls, the traffic, you get scared of vehicles approaching you, cutting across you, people jumping in front of your vehicle from nowhere, you get scared of people honking at you, yelling at you , all kinds of things. But in time you develop the skill and patience (hopefully) to navigate through it all.

Perhaps you may also want to look at this from a personal well being perspective than a road \ traffic behavior issue. At a personal level it would be the fastest path to a peaceful experience on the road.

Here’s what BHPian sam800 had to say on the matter:

People’s mentality is the biggest reason of all. I have seen people parked their vehicles on road side with headlights on high beam and they’re either having snacks or chatting or just waiting for someone.

I’ve lost the count how many times I’ve fought with my father when i switch to dipper headlight when required and I would get scolded for doing so. For him, lights will be in upper position no matter what. He says “khudko dikh nai raha aur dusro ko dikhana hai” ( you aren’t able to see that well far ahead in dipper and you want to let others see well).

Once i wanted to install projector headlights in my Pulsar and went to a FNG for the same. The ballast wiring was such, the stock up-low switch couldn’t work and seperate switch was needed for same. I asked the mechanic to install a seperate switch, else headlight would be permanently on upper. He said- leave it na bro, the person in front will feel lights on his eyes, why you bother? Needless to say, i got installed the switch anyway.

I take my infant on his stroller for walks in night with my pet dogs. I often see cars with headlight on upper, coming towards us and not caring enough. I have to either turn my back towards the car so as to protect myself and my kid from glare, and if car is stationary with headlights on, I knock & ask them to put their lights on Dipper.

These headlight maniac people are snatching away the joy of driving in the night without headache. My 2 cents-

1. install a laminated film on windscreen of your car, it reduces the headlight glare to a good extent. You’ll happily drive the car in highways in night.

2. Wear an anti glare spectacles of better quality.

3. If possible, like struck in traffic and the car at your tail is firing their headlight at full power on all 3 mirrors, just get out and ask them politely to switch to dipper. There’s no need for upper when you’re struck in bumper traffic.

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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