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Why you should always be wary of a dead bulb

Published December 24, 2012
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The other day, in the span of about 20 seconds, I saw three cars in traffic with a taillight/brake light out pass by me.

Granted, a bulb can blow at anytime so even the most vigilant driver might get caught temporarily with a light out, but I suspect it was more likely these drivers didn’t routinely check their lights and were oblivious to the fact they were compromising their safety on the roads.

They might also be ignoring the “bulb out” dash warning on vehicles so equipped, or they’re disregarding the signal blinker acting wonky since a bulb is out.

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You see, the thing is, when one bulb blows, the other often soon follows. I’m not sure whether it’s because they’re likely about the same age, so they’ll fail around the same time, or because the remaining working bulb(s) got a harmful power surge when the dead bulb blew out.

In any case, one taillight/brake light out often soon becomes no taillights/brake lights at all. Whereas having a signal out might annoy other motorists because you’re changing lanes without signalling – though you think you did – having no brake lights will probably get you rear-ended in short order.

So everybody, please check all your lights periodically. It can be a lifesaver, both for you and others.

In several reported cases that I’m aware of, a driver on a dark rural road at night struck and killed a pedestrian because a headlight was out, so they never saw the person before impact.

Charges of criminal negligence causing death resulted – all because of a blown headlight.

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