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Blog » An unexpected thing on Del Mar Blvd

17 Feb 2006

An unexpected thing on Del Mar Blvd

Filed under: Stuff — paulcook @ 2:55 pm

I was driving along Del Mar a day or two ago, just past Lake Ave near Caltech. It was dusk, and car headlights were just coming on. As I pulled up to the light, a huge bakkie (pickup truck) with raised suspension and huge tires pulled up right behind me, with its headlights on. I don’t think the brights were on, but the height of the truck put its headlights at exactly the right height to shine directly into my eyes, via every rear-view mirror I had.

Naturally, this was annoying. For a while I leant forward, till my neck got tired. Then I sat back, but with my hand raised between me and the rear-view mirror on the windscreen, thinking idle nasty thoughts about people who feel the need to turn perfectly normal cars into monstrosities.

But after a few seconds the strangest thing happened: the truck turned off its headlights. Since it was dusk, the only possible explanation was that the driver had seen my hand, worked out the problem, and turned off his/her lights. And in that instant my idle annoyance became a lot more complicated.

By being so obvious about the thing, I had turned a minor annoyance of mine into something so significant that the other driver decided to turn off the headlights. Was I really justified in doing so? Sure, it was the design of the truck that had created the problem in the first place, but what if the driver was only borrowing it? Or had realised only after buying it the implications for everyone else on the road? Since the driver was clearly aware of the effect it had on others, was he/she driving it out of necessity only? Ironically enough, getting what I most wanted had suddenly left me unsure that it was fair to be wanting it in the first place.

And what will the other driver do now? Since I was in a normal car, she/he will now be aware of the discomfit caused every time his/her truck is behind a car. Driving without headlights is clearly not possible, so will the driver be cringing each time a light turns red with some cars in front of him/her?

Such a simple act, so many questions!



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7 Comments »

  1. Of course it’s fair to not want to be blinded. Maybe if the driver realizes how many people he/she is annoying, it will prompt them to get a non-monstrous vehicle.

    Comment by Ellen — 17 Feb 2006 @ 6:39 pm

  2. Ellen is dead on here, Paul.

    Comment by jjk — 17 Feb 2006 @ 7:56 pm

  3. Chances are that said person has a reason for all the monster modifications to the vehicle. People don’t often go for the raised suspension unless they need it. And we all have the right to drive a roadworthy vehicle that suits us.

    Having said that, it’s only fair that they consider other road users who aren’t out to beat the dirt roads. It isn’t much of a hassle to get the headlights dipped a little lower, so they don’t do exactly what you describe.

    Interesting how much of road courtesy is really unwritten rules. We all know that we should turn off our brights when other vehicles are in front of us, indicate when turning & not tailgate. And yet, it’s nearly impossible to enforce it all.

    Comment by Chris — 18 Feb 2006 @ 12:18 am

  4. What a pleasure to discover a human being behind the lights. Even the enemy is human, as armies have discovered through the ages. Good reason not to go to war.

    But the market is open to someone to invent reflective print that responds to direct light, for a bumper sticker saying something like the human in front of you finds your lights intrusive.

    Comment by Jonathan — 18 Feb 2006 @ 12:46 pm

  5. I think I agree that I was perfectly justified in what I did — since it wasn’t like I actually got out the car, went and said something to the driver, got shot…. oh wait, I remember now why I decided to stay in my car.

    Anyway, back to the point: there is still the chance that the person concerned was about to get the car changed, or something like that. It’s related to the danger of saying something to a stranger in a moment of anger — perhaps the person you’re talking to has a really good reason for whatever it is they’re doing.

    Or maybe I’m just too paranoid!

    Comment by paulcook — 18 Feb 2006 @ 4:33 pm

  6. How empathic and assuming of the good intentions of the average monster truck driver. Do you really think that the average large truck owner with headlight that are two plus feet higher than the average auto, is unaware that his/her headlights are irritating-dangerous? That seems to me to be a hugh assumption. They may hide behind the “legal” reality, but one would need to be blind not to be able to see reality.

    I have been blinded buy such lights many times by trucks coming towards me, especially on curves. I actively work to make these experiences only temporarily effect me, but my vote is for a federal law on headlight height. Personally, I don’t care what they need for off the road pleasures. They are driving these vehicles on the road, and negatively effecting most average car drivers, not to speak of the small/lower height cars.

    drtom
    Pyschotherapist

    Comment by drtommac — 29 Apr 2006 @ 9:24 am

  7. HEY,
    I WAS RELLY AMUSED WHAT YOU HAVE SEEN ON THAT DAY. I AM AFRAID AS I DON’T EVEN HEARD SUCH THING BEFORE.

    Comment by SAJAN PATHAK — 22 Jun 2006 @ 4:51 am

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