The lights are on, but nobody’s home
I’m a pretty busy person these days. From the hours I spend at Young Drivers of Canada, to taking my kids to their activities, to spending time relaxing with my family; it fills my day, week, month and year. When I get a moment to myself, I try to take it and relax. Are you the same?
Part of the problem that keeps us busy is having to fulfill the requirements of vehicle ownership. Owning a vehicle is more than making payments, paying for insurance and putting fuel in the vehicle. It also means we have to take care of the vehicle. How well do you take care of your vehicle?
We teach our students atYoung Driversof Canadato walk around the vehicle prior to entering it to find anything that may stop us from driving away safely. This would include obvious under inflated tires, fluid leaks, dirty windows and mirrors, etc. Commercial drivers tend to do a more detailed check. They have to ensure their vehicle is working and not just object-free. Do you think it would be a good idea for all drivers to do the same thing?
On a bi-weekly basis or a monthly basis, I ensure my vehicle has proper fluid levels, proper air pressure on all tires; including the spare tire. I also inspect the outside of my vehicle to look for body damage; including stone chips and scratches. If you catch the chips and scratches early, you can touch them up with specific touch-up paint supplied by your dealership. I use Barcelona Red myself!
I also check to ensure the headlights, tail lights, signals, hazard lights, brake lights and reverse lights all work. It’s pretty easy to check the headlights, tail lights, hazard lights and signals by yourself, but how do you check your brake lights and reverse lights by yourself? I’m not suggesting you place a brick on the brake and run out to the back of your vehicle.
The easiest way is reverse in a parking space that’s in front of a glass window. Step on the brake and look to see if all brake lights are working. Then place the gear selector into reverse and look for the reverse lights to come on. Once you spot a burned out bulb, off you go to the automotive store to get your replacement bulb. No need to procrastinate on this job, regardless of how busy you are.
My student and I spotted a driver of a commercial vehicle whose brake lights were not working. We had a chance to stop beside them at a red light, so I rolled my window down to let the driver know. He said thanks, but didn’t seem too interested in knowing or even wanting to get them fixed. Why not? Didn’t they care that someone may hit them from behind because there were no brake lights to warn them, especially during a quick stop?
We must remember that even though we press the brake pedal, the lights don’t always come on. We also have to remember that some times the lights are on, but there’s nobody home.