Alright, if you are a friend on Facebook, then you might have seen some of my posts talking about Auto Headlamps on or AHO. Government of India had issued a notification to all the two-wheeler manufacturers or importers in India. According to the rule, AHO is mandatory from April 2017. KTM, and other big bikes already have implemented it.
In 2014, close 40,000 people died in two-wheeler accidents (source). This number is due to various issues including lack of safety gear (helmets) and driving carelessly. Either by the rider or another three or four wheeled vehicle. It is obvious that roads in India are not safe enough, and are way too worse than many of European or American nations. While the government is trying different ways to help reduce accidents, making AHO mandatory is a one of the steps.
Auto Headlamps On – is this the right way to go?
Auto Headlamps or Daylight Running Lamps (DRLs) that are popular in cars these days (for different reasons) is a technique used in countries that have less ambient through out the year. In these countries, there is too much of white or gray color around. Ambient light levels in the winter are generally low even during the day in many other countries as well. This potential visibility issue can lead to accidents.
In India, if you are riding your bike with your headlights on, people will wave at you. To tell you that you have your headlights on! This is a common sight that I grew up with, and followed much the same. In all most all of those cases when I did, they had forgotten to switched off. That was until I read this beautiful article at Overdrive written by Shubhabrata Marmar.
The fact that so many people wave at you itself is a testament that you are being noticeable!
From then on, I switched on my headlights every time I went on ride. It is now really nagging, when people who wave me their hands to tell me my lamps are on! For bikers, this is an absolute necessity. A bike with head lamps on is much easily visible than one without head lamps on. The fact that so many people wave at you itself is a testament that you are being noticeable!
There have been instances when the police have stopped me after looking at my headlight being on. When I tell them I keep them switched on for my “safety”, they have laughed it off. That was till the news of Government’s rule got published in prominent news websites. I pull up ET website and show it to them and I go scot-free.
There are not many AHO enabled bikes in India, however a few have already made the head start. Bajaj started it with Dominar, KTMs already had this feature for couple of months and Hero Maestro Edge is the only scooter to feature AHO till date. However, expect all of the bikes and scooters to come equipped with AHO starting April, lest they will not be able to register the vehicle with RTO.
A bike with head lamps on is much easily visible than one without head lamps on.
Low Beam, always!
One of the things that has been constantly nagging me is how people are careless while driving on the road. Especially at night. High Beam on your vehicle is to be used only when the visibility is absolutely poor, not always. But we Indians like to ignore this. So much that regular drivers like truckers and taxi drivers have grown to accept this as a norm and ignore it.
The license test should include this as a mandatory education. I ask my friends, rather force them, to ensure they are not riding with high beam on.
High Beam is not only bad for oncoming vehicles, but for those who are ahead of you as well. High beam reflects back on the review view mirror of the vehicle ahead of you, and disables their vision to see you coming. This may lead to a move which may compromise your driving/riding direction.
So, whenever you put your headlights on, always ensure you are not driving or riding on High Beam.
Light on, it is!
So, lets take a pledge and drive with your headlights on, always on Low Beam to be safe and to be visible.