Checking your bulbs could avoid tickets and accidents
How often do you conduct a safety walk around on your vehicle? You may recall that, when you studied The Rules of the Road in preparation for that first driver’s license exam, in days gone by, you were told to check your lights and turn signals every time you went for a drive. Today, the booklet merely states that each car must have this equipment and that it must work properly.
Let’s see a show of hands: How many of you actually give your vehicle a safety check before you drive? How many of you have ever given your car a safety check?
That’s what I thought. The truth is that we get in and go, don’t we? Somewhere, in the back of our minds, we’re thinking, “What are the odds one of our lights or a turn signal is out?”
Well, the odds aren’t as long as you might think. Eventually, all bulbs burn out. It’s just a matter of time. Of course, we know that and we further adjust the odds by adding the squad-car-factor, which goes something like this: “What are the odds that one of our lights or turn signals will burn out today and, furthermore, what are the odds a police officer will notice before we do?”
As Obi Wan Kenobi would say of the force, we all hope the odds are with us. But that’s the thing about odds. Eventually, the law of averages catch up and the odds are against us. We might just get that ticket, assuming the officer isn’t nice enough to point out the burned out bulb and admonish us to repair the situation post-haste. Unfortunately, there is more to it than that.
Headlights are the only external bulbs on our vehicle that directly assist us while we drive. They improve our vision up ahead. Of course, they also alert other drivers to our presence. And that’s the primary role of most of the bulbs and turn signals on the outside of our vehicles.
The taillights let other drivers know we’re up ahead or, possibly, crossing in front of them. The turn signals and brake lights, however, go a step further; they help to communicate our intentions and actions. They let other drivers know we’re stopping and/or planning to turn. Our emergency flashers let drivers know that we’ve got a problem; they should slow down and pass with caution.
There is only one light bulb on your vehicle that does not have a direct influence on safety but can still result in a ticket if it’s burned out. Can you guess which bulb that is (read to the end for the answer)?
In other words, while burned out bulbs could result in traffic citations, they can also result in accidents. The odds are that a burned out taillight will not land you or a loved one in a hospital or morgue. And yet, you’re still playing with the law of averages. Someone, somewhere has died because a turn signal bulb was burned out and another driver didn’t know they were turning. Someone is in the hospital today because their taillights malfunctioned.
You probably don’t need to give your vehicle a walk around every time you drive, though it wouldn’t hurt. But, it’s still a very good idea to stay on top of your vehicle’s safety equipment, such as the lights and turn signals.
At a quality auto repair shop, such as Performance Unlimited, 5415 Austin Court, Ringwood, they’ll give your vehicle a safety check any time it comes in for repairs or maintenance. Oh, and which bulb has little or nothing to do with safety but can still result in a ticket if it burns out? That would be the license plate bulb.
For more information, call Performance Unlimited at 815-728-0343 or visit: www.4performanceunlimited.com.