The craziness of night-driving with one headlight


Posted by: Joshua-Philip Okeafor

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Driving at night is always somewhat more risky than doing same by day. You take the risk up a notch doing so with one headlight. Here is what happens next.

How many have experienced the situation of seeing a single headlight approaching you in the pitch dark, adjusting adequately for the bike or tricycle coming, only to have to swerve aside suddenly when your own headlights reveal a full four-wheeler?

Sadly, for every hundred or so drivers, there is the one or two who didn't react fast enough and ended up in auto accidents of various degrees of severity.

Driving with one headlight is shockingly all too common in Nigeria. The reasons are legion. For some, the headlamp suddenly blinked out, for others it is the old excuse of no time or money to fix it. You can encounter lots of nasty experiences when you do this.


A single headlight in the distance means a bike is coming my way

Be that as it may, driving with one headlight is not only dangerous, it also displays a vagrant disregard for the lives of other road users.

In Nigeria, the roads are not always the best they can be. When you factor in the added risk of plying those roads at night, then you begin to wonder at the lunacy of doing so with one head lamp only.

Consequences of night driving with one headlight

These are the most likely effects or consequences of driving with one headlight:

1. Mistaken for a 2- wheeler or 3-wheeler vehicle

It is common for most drivers to drive by experience and feel in the night. This is because you really can't see everything once the sun sleeps. The automatic conclusion any driver first reaches on seeing a single headlight in the distance is bike or Keke. The driver then adjusts the steering wheel to make adequate room for the motorbike or tricycle to pass. It might be too late before he or she realizes their error.

2. Limited visibility

I mean let's face it, even with the best of headlights, your visibility, driving at night is at best decreased or at worst seriously impaired. It then follows that a single headlight is only going to cost you the loss of even more candle power in illumination.

3. Danger to you and others

Of course the final outcome of your inability to see well, or for others to see you well would eventually be some sort of collision. The seriousness of the encounter would be dependent on whether you hit a truck, small vehicle, or pedestrian. Either way, the consequences could well be fatal.

4. Arrest

Yes, heads up! You could be arrested because it's illegal to drive with just one headlamp!


Loss of vsibility is one result of driving with one headlight

How to solve the problem?

Many times though, the fact of driving with just one headlight can come out of the dark, so to speak  What then should you do if you find yourself in a one headlight driving situation suddenly?

  • Park the car: This is the best, simplest and obvious solution if you are driving at night and one light dies. As much as possible find a safe shelter of some sort for the car. You can then make your way home or get a mechanic if you can still get one at that hour. If there's no safe haven within sight, then be sure to park well off the road. Remember to place caution signs.
  • Put on hazard lights: If you must drive, put on your hazard lights. This will help others know to be cautious. The lights will also readily identify your vehicle as a 4- wheeler.
  • Blink the headlight: From time to time blink the good light rapidly. It's a time honored distress signal.
  • Drive slow: This is the final coping mechanism. The slower you are, the more time you and other drivers have to react and save the situation. Driving slow also improves your visibility by giving you time to observe the road ahead. You are thus able to discern obstacles on the road before you get there.

Observing this guide will help you manage better in a situation where you lose one headlight.

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Joshua-Philip Okeafor
Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Car buying & selling

Joshua, or KK as friends call him, is a Filmmaker, Writer and Director. A Christian, Joshua is a product of Nigeria’s foremost film school, the National Film Institute, Jos, where he majored in Writing/Directing. Joshua began his writing career at age 18 when an older brother gave him a four page outline of a children novel. Joshua intends to keep writing and directing. His screen name is sometimes Joshua Kalu Ephraim (Writing), and sometimes Joshua KK (directing).

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