To see and to be seen

To see and to be seen

This slogan has now become a commonplace, but it gains meaning again with the appearance of the first fog, drizzle, snowfall and snow melting and the damp, dirty roads. Let’s see to what we should pay special attention in order to participate in road traffic as safe as possible even in autumn / winter traffic conditions.

It is always important to see: we naturally keep the light fixtures clean at the front of our vehicles so that they light up in front of the car with an appropriate brightness and to the appropriate distance, even if we may not be able to remove daily dirt from the entire vehicle every day. Nowadays we often don’t have any difficulties with front lights, as more and more vehicles come with xenon-bulb headlights, equipped by manufacturers with headlamp washing devices as compulsory accessories.

It is important to check from time to time the operability of all the bulbs of the lighting system, in which the warning lamp indicating the malfunction of the lighting equipment can be of great help. We should find a service point to indicate any issues, have the malfunctioning bulb replaced, as well as the setting height of headlights is also worth having checked, because its fault may result in either too short lighting distance or the blinding of those coming towards us.

It is another serious source of danger if we cannot see appropriately through the glass surfaces, which means not only the cleanliness of the windscreen but all the glass surfaces around us. Upon departure, all the dirt and any frozen moisture should be removed. Do not start off on any journey with icy glass, uncertain views or large obscured surfaces, because they may cause accidents!

It is important to replace the washer fluid before the frost sets in with a windshield washer fluid that ensures frost resistance for temperatures as low as -20°C, as well as the safe operation of the washer system. We should also have some spare fluid in the boot, because if it runs out on the way, we can get in a quite unpleasant situation upon seeing stains smeared by the wipers on the windscreen.

The cleanliness and integrity of the rubber surface of wiper blades are also very important, because only these can ensure good visibility through both the front and rear windscreens. Our company provides repair service once a year including the replacement of the front and rear wiper blades without any additional costs.

To be seen is obviously just as important, but maybe there are fewer criteria to meet here. The cleanliness of primarily the rear lighting fixtures is also necessary, because muddy stains on the lamps can significantly reduce the brightness of rear bulbs or light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and this in turn significantly increases the risk of rear-end collisions, especially under limited visibility at high speeds, but even in urban traffic conditions.

All vehicles are equipped with rear fog lamps, it’s an obvious thing – use them as necessary. In any event, we should be attentive and cautious as the lamp emits a strong red light, and if it is switched on unnecessarily (mostly only in wet weather) or left switched on accidentally, it can be very unpleasant for the driver of the vehicle behind us, blinding him/her, thus creating a direct risk of accident. In this regard,

Section 44(4) of the Hungarian Highway Code states: “Instead of or in addition to using dipped headlights or high beam, front fog lamps and rear fog lamps can only be used in situations where justified by visibility conditions”.

Thus, if it is not justified by visibility conditions, don’t forget to switch them off, because if we can see the vehicle in front of us well without a rear fog lamp, you can be sure that the driver behind us can see us just as well if we, too, are using only the standard lights.

I hope that this brief summary can contribute with some advice to accident-free driving during the autumn and winter seasons.

author: Lajos Csáder - ALD Technical referent