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Re: quattro-digest V3 #1300

 Greg Koehler said:

> Al said:
> >Not THREE seconds later, an old late 50's Chevy went past in the 
> >other lane!!  The headlights were so dim that I suspect he may have 
> >been running off his battery to get home.  
> >
> >The point: his lights fooled me.  Until then, I didn't realize that 
> >slightly dim lights could look MUCH farther away than they were.  And 
> >it damn near got him and me killed in a 60+ MPH head-on, because he 
> >looked at a leat a mile farther away then he actually was!"
> I'm not an expert, but I know you can't measure distance on the basis of
> brightness alone.  This is a well established fact in optics.  If you
> had  hit the Chevy it would have been entirely your fault for using this
> false assumption.

Of COURSE it would have been my fault!  But we'd have been dead no 
matter.  I was not attempting to blame the other driver, just to 
point out that when driving at night, one MUST make judgements about 
traffic based on perception.  The fact is, those lights looked like 
they were over a mile away.  There is more than luminance level that 
goes into such a judgement - but it doesn't matter, the fact is that 
one MUST make judgements based on what one sees.  

My point is that one function of lights is to tell OTHER drivers 
where you are.  Fer instance - I don't turn on my wipers without 
turning on my headlights.  Ever.  Doesn't matter if it's noon in 
> Anyway, if you see headlights when passing, make sure you wait until
> you see how fast the headlights are moving so you can determine the
> speed of the other vehicle, or try to see the silhouette of the other
> car before passing.  It's best when you see the other lights come around a
> corner in the distance before they hit a straight road section. This is
> pretty much impossible if you are driving at night and the other car is
> coming straight at you, in which case you should just stay put. 
> That said, I agree that drivers should try to make their cars clearly 
> visible to others by using good daytime and nighttime lights.

Aw, come on, Greg. You're in Kirkland - you know how long some of 
those straights around Ritzville are.  You could see a car that's 
five minutes away.  Not practical to wait.  By your rule, I'd never 
have passed a car at night in most of rural Washington!

My point is simply that you have to look sharp - and we all need all 
the clues possible.


Al Powell                        Voice:  409/845-2807
107 Reed McDonald Bldg.          Fax:    409/862-1202
College Station, TX 77843      

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 who knows how to do it."