07.28.2014

10.14.2006

Turn on your headlights, Saturn

Filed under: cars,random @ 11:55

Old timers of this site will recall that I own a 1998 Saturn SL1. As most people know, Saturns have daytime running lights in between the main headlights (earning the cars the nickname of “cyclops” to some).

At dusk, I have often left my headlights off judging the remains of the daylight still bright enough for the running lights to do their job. I will no longer do so.

I have found from first hand experience that a Saturn with only its running lights on looks farther away than it really is under certain lighting conditions. This is because the lights are spaced more closely together than are typical headlights.

So, Saturn drivers, turn your headlights on when it gets even a little dark out. You may be right in thinking that other drivers can see your running lights, but that may be all they can see.

2 Comments

  1.  
    Adam 10.16.2006 @ 16:10

    This makes complete sense to me. Studies have shown that effects like fog can also make things appear farther away than they actually are. The dimness of the running lights is similar to what you would get when driving in fog, thus this compounds the effect of the lights being closer together. Additionally, twilight is one of the hardest times to judge distances properly.

    All of these tell me that as soon as it starts getting dark, you should turn on your regular headlights.

  2.  
    tdstephens3 10.17.2006 @ 21:36

    oh, atmospheric conditions too? just figured the stereoscopic effect acting in conjuction with my miniscule brain’s conditioning mechanisms…

    wow, this is exciting to post on the blog of a caltech student!! did i type that out loud?

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