By Tim Kowols
Drivers are finding themselves flipping on the brights with more regularity as the end of Daylights Savings Time approaches on November 4th. Poor weather conditions, shorter days, and increased wildlife activity are among the reasons why motorists should consider using them while driving at this time of the year. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski reminds drivers that there is a time and a place to use your high beams properly.
Joski says the use of flashing your high beams to communicate with other drivers can be effective if used safely. According to the New York Daily News, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced earlier this month it would allow car manufacturers to install headlights that use photo sensors to adjust their beams for the time of the day and the traffic around them. You can read the rest of Sheriff Joski’s tips on using high beams online with this story.
FROM SHERIFF MATT JOSKI
Now that the days are getting shorter and the nights longer, it is a good time to discuss lighting on vehicles. This provides us with a reminder and opportunity to make sure your vehicle as well as any trailer lights are operational. While preventative maintenance on your vehicle equipment will make you and your occupants safer, it will also eliminate the potential for being stopped for defective equipment.
In this article I would like to discuss high beams and low beams. I don’t have many pet peeves, but one of them is definitely when people do not dim their headlamps when they meet another vehicle. Wisconsin state Statute covers this in 347.12(1)(a) “Use of Multiple Beam Headlamps”
Whenever the operator of a motor vehicle equipped with multiple beam headlamps approaches an oncoming vehicle within 500 Feet, the operator shall dim, depress or tilt the vehicles headlights so the glaring rays are not directed into the eyes of the operator of the other vehicle.
This paragraph does not prohibit an operator from intermittently flashing the vehicles high beam headlamps at an oncoming vehicle whose high beam headlamps are lit.
This statute goes on to apply the same distance (500 feet) in regards to dimming your headlamps when following another vehicle.
I have had people who believed that flashing your headlights at an oncoming vehicle was illegal, and I hope this clears up the misconception. The proper use , or in some cases the improper use of high beams becomes the source of many complaints, and the proper understanding and use will go a long way in maintaining harmony on our roadways.
One of the main reasons we use our high beams is to increase our response time in the event that a deer or other wildlife may wander onto the roadway and into our lane traffic. For those who are interested, we are slightly below the number of car deer accidents from this time last year. Last year’s total number of car deer accidents was 485. At this time last year we had 334 car deer accidents reported. The number for this year thus far is 310. Stay Safe! Stay Alert!