I started this entry as a ‘Duh!’ award, but I’m saving those for things that should be patently obvious, so I’ve created a new award called ‘Doh!’ for things that are just plain stupid and/or unsafe. Today’s ‘Doh!’ award goes to people who don’t turn their lights on when it’s a grey, overcast, foggy day. The visibility Asparagus Pee's Coveted 'Doh!' Awardhere in Auburn today is somewhere in the range of 10-15 ft. for large unlighted objects, and probably 20-35 feet for bright lights – you can see the street lights a ways back, but you can’t see parked cars.

My father-in-law just dropped by our house and said ‘half the people don’t even have their lights on,’ and that got me thinking as I drove in to work that about half the people really didn’t, but then I decided to get all statistical about it. I spent a few minutes in the front window of our office monitoring a fairly busy street that is our main downtown drag, and here are the results:

Out of 124 drivers,
103 (83.1%) had their lights on (good for them!)
4 (3.2%) had only their parking lights on, and
17 (13.7%) had no lights whatsoever (idiots in about the right proportion).

So that got me thinking about daytime running lights when it’s not foggy and the sun is shining. When The Lady Janet quit working to stay home with Emily, we looked very closely at our auto insurance to see if we could save a little money, and we did a bunch of stuff like cancelling AAA because we were already paying for roadside assistance and raising our deductibles. But the other thing I noticed is that USAA thinks it’s worth a $60/year deduction if you have daytime running lights on your vehicle.

Now, my old ’89 Honda Accord doesn’t have them, but I figure, ‘Hey, if USAA thinks it’s worth $5/month this must really cut down on accidents,’ so I drive with my lights on all the time, and I think it’s very helpful because my car is dark silver grey and it blends into the road.

I was trying to decide whether to call the little side lights I saw in my tally ‘running lights’ or ‘parking lights,’ and they are definitely ‘parking lights,’ but I ran across a bunch of sites at the top of Google that are people trying to organize a ‘stop the running lights’ movement. You be the judge:

Oh, by the way, here are the CHP’s safety tips for foggy conditions – I was a little surprised by their suggestion that if you have to pull off to the side, you turn off your lights, but it makes sense, because someone might think you were on the roadway and try to follow you.

If you drive in fog, please read the tips.