Letters: Neglecting headlights in Arlington
Reader Collin writes,
Seemingly since the time change, no one has been turning on their headlights in Arlington. (I say only Arlington because I have not seen other areas of the region at this time of night, with the exception of downtown DC, where this does not seem to be a problem).Any ideas?
The other day, I was walking home in Ballston, about to cross at a crosswalk located in the middle of an open section of the street, when I came within two feet of being taken out by a completely dark X5. I'm not talking just fog lights, just running lights, etc. I mean nothing. Later in the week, I was at the mysterious sign-free intersection in Clarendon when I saw an Arlington County police car pull up at the light on Wilson facing Clarendon. Directly behind it approached an Explorer, which pulled up literally to within 3 feet of the bumper of the police car, with no headlights on whatsoever. This was at 7:30 PM, post-time-change, so it had been dark for well over two hours. I watched for probably 10 seconds, then walked up to the police car. The officer rolled down her window, then said something to the effect of "Oh, he ain't got his headlights on, don't he?" and laughed. As I walked away, the driver finally got it and turned on the lights.
So what is it anyhow? I'm not talking the occasional car here and there...I'd be willing to speculate it's probably approaching 5% of all cars. And again, this is a good 1-2 hours after sunset. I never noticed this problem in the summer, or even up until the time change. This is particularly remarkable because I have lived or spent time in quite a few densely-populated, car-centric Arlington-sized towns all over the eastern part of the country and I have never noticed this phenomenon like I do here. Trying to eliminate exogenous variables doesn't really help. Is it somehow less dark here? I've lived in places where it gets dark a lot earlier. Are the streetlights brighter? Every town has streetlights. Is there a law saying it's optional? Drastic measures to reduce fuel consumption?
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