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Headlamps beyond the dazzle

Headlamps are your saviour and one must take proper care of them as well as learn proper night riding etiquettes. Deepesh Rathore has some tips.
PTI | By Deepesh Rathore
PUBLISHED ON JUL 16, 2003 12:50 PM IST

They say it’s the small things that make a difference; that light up your life and the small things that are often the difference between life and death. And it’s always the small things that are neglected. Most people consider riding in the night to be a piece of cake and often, the biggest saviour of life, the headlamp, is given a step-brotherly treatment. We have some night riding tips (and etiquettes) and headlamp maintenance tips for those who think that riding in the night is all about keeping eyes wide open.

The headlamp is important in the sense that not only does it tell you where you are going (or for that matter, where you should be going) but also warns the oncoming traffic of your presence.

We said, “Warns the oncoming traffic”, there’s no need to dazzle them with the high beam. Stick to the low beam when riding in the city.

You can use the high beam when riding on the highway. But judge your braking distance according to the lighted sector in front of you. Also remember that the vehicles coming from the other side of the road too are on high beam and those with “glare” problems better be wary.

Most of us don’t bother much with the headlamps after buying the bikes and keep on running the bike even after losing a beam. One should regularly check the battery, headlamps and wiring. Replace the bulb as soon as you lose one or more beams.

Out on a ride and you lose a beam? Well switch to the other beam and replace the bulb as soon as you get home. Lost both beams? Then turn on the left hand turn indicator and ride on the left bank of the road at a slow speed (less than 25kph) till you get home.

Dip your headlamp when there is traffic coming from the other side. It’s called good road manners and also makes sense when the approaching traffic is a Tata 1210.

Use dipper when overtaking. Again its good manners and makes much more sense than honking your way through a truck convoy.

Dirt and grime over the years dull your headlamp intensity. Regularly clean the headlamp lens to retain good quality of beam.

Switch to a higher headlamp rating only if it is very necessary and take the advice of your local dealer. There’s no point in switching to 55/60W headlamps if your battery cannot support them.

It may look good to change your commuter bike to a Triumph Speed Triple/Four look-alike but readjust your new headlamps properly before riding off. And don’t even try the R 1200 CL quad-headlamp look.                               

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