Momentary Rebel

There isn’t much of an autumn in Israel – it is usually hot one day, then cool and rainy the next (like yesterday and today!).

 There are some signs, though, of the changing season. One of them is a traffic rule that goes into effect on November 1st. Israeli law says that you need to put your car lights on from November 1st until March 1st, even during the day.

Personally I find this law incredibly stupid. It does not take into account the weather conditions at all. In this part of the world a winter day can be warm and sunny, without a cloud in the sky. Turning on your car lights in these conditions does absolutely nothing to improve safety. But the law is the law, and if you don’t follow it you can receive a ticket. I know – it once happened to me.

I was driving to do some errands yesterday (on a beautiful sunny day, November or not) and I started thinking about how stupid the law was, and I thought to myself that I would ignore it. (Our car does not give you a warning if you leave the lights on after turning off the ignition. I am always afraid that I will leave them on by mistake and my battery will give out, leaving me stranded).

Well, you know the saying (loosely translated from the Yiddish) – man plans and G-d laughs.

Just as I was thinking about how I was going to be a “traffic rebel” – a traffic cop pulled up beside me in the next lane. My hand flew out and flipped those lights on faster than Jews dive for the food at a kiddush.

A bit sheepish, I consoled myself by turning the lights off again as soon as he disappeared down the road. We’ll see if I make it through the winter without a ticket!

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tnspr569
    Nov 07, 2007 @ 18:00:06

    Is it really worth risking a ticket?

  2. Jack
    Nov 07, 2007 @ 21:48:41

    Turning on your car lights in these conditions does absolutely nothing to improve safety.
    Actually they have done studies that suggest otherwise.

  3. Yoni Ross
    Nov 11, 2007 @ 11:39:53

    If you really want to flaunt the law, keep your headlights on all the time (when you’re driving, of course), all year round, highway or local road. It’s actually safer. (If you don’t believe me, consider that some countries, like Canada if I’m not mistaken, give insurance discounts if your car is equipped with daytime-headlights. Any reductions in an insurance premium is certainly backed up by solid statistics.)

  4. yitz
    Nov 11, 2007 @ 13:23:04

    Yoni – How is your advice “flaunting the law.” There’s nothing illegal about putting your headlights on in the summer, it’s just not required! Also, do you have any other proof that it’s safer, besides insurance rates?

  5. tnspr569
    Nov 11, 2007 @ 15:03:07

    For some unscientific verification of Jack’s comment, I definitely am more aware (re: notice cars sooner, remain aware longer) of cars that have daytime running lights. I think all new vehicles in Canada are required to have daytime running lights. On the car I usually drive, I make use of the auto-off headlights by just leaving the switch in the on position all of the time. Works for me.

  6. Naftush
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 08:02:24

    Your thinking would turn the use of headlights into an issue for individual drivers’ judgment every day and with every change in weather. Trouble is, in the event of misjudgment some of us would lose our health or lives. I’d rather keep the lights on and carry battery cables for the occasional and unlikely mishap.

  7. Silicon
    Jan 02, 2010 @ 21:11:51

    Nice idea! I was thinking about writing something along these same lines. Will have to bookmark this for future reference.

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