Drivers need to turn off their high beams

| 23/10/2018 | 39 Comments

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian statusWhat are the laws regarding the use of high beam lights in vehicles? I’m constantly blinded by at least 35% of vehicles driving around with high beam lights for no real reason. Maybe you can ask RCIPS as well if this is not enforceable or should I just have a spotlight to beam back into the other vehicles…


Auntie’s answer: I have encountered the glare of high beams myself and, annoyingly (not to mention worryingly), flashing my brights to alert the oncoming driver to turn them off usually does no good.

The misuse of high beams is covered under The Traffic Law, 2011, specifically Section 93(1)(h), which says it is an offence to use “a spotlight or flashing headlights in such a way as to endanger or dazzle another person”. A driver committing this infraction can be issued a $100 ticket.

However, as you can imagine, it is not that easy to catch a driver in the act of misusing his or her high beams. An RCIPS spokesperson explained that this is not an offence that is often reported to the police or that officers often encounter. So far this year, only one person has been prosecuted for misuse of their lights.

The spokesperson added, though, that your concern has been passed on to the traffic department for officers to look out for these infractions.

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Comments (39)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Left hand cars should be forced have their lights taped or adjusted for the safety of road users.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I feel like I prompted this article. Headlights haven’t been working right recently forcing me to use the brights every now and then. The night prior to this article being published a few very annoyed drivers tried their hardest to get me to use my regular lights. I find it annoying too.

    Apologies, all fixed now!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    So many of the above comments are correct regarding the headlights situation.
    I have been saying for a very long time that drivers need to be more courteous and not be blinding other drivers either by not dimming their lights or by not having their head-lights properly adjusted. The police need to be more active in dealing with this situation.
    It is terrible driving at nights in Cayman Brac. Not only do many drivers not dim their lights but they have their blue lights on bright which make the situation even worse.
    Also, police and inspectors should see that headlights are adjusted the correct way.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Pro tip: For those 1000’s of people a day that turn right from west-bound Shedden Road turn lane onto North South Road (at Jacques Scott), that presumably never sought a genuine driver’s license or the required training: the sun-faded miniature triangle sign at the light reads “Yield to oncoming traffic on Green”. It doesn’t say “right turn only on the advance green and then park there like a mushroom for a full light cycle”. There seems to be quite a lot of widespread confusion over this very basic traffic light that ultimately impairs everyone’s ability to get where they need to go. The righthand lane at Crew and Smith Road is the same deal. I loose a couple hours of my life a year at both of those lights to people that shouldn’t be on the road at all.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am amazed how many drivers, including taxis and mini-buses carrying passengers, are habitually driving around after dark with just their parking lights on, or even no illumination at all. How clued out and detached from reality would you have to be to do that? Some drivers tint their windshields, license plates, and their lights! They are literally mostly-invisible dark blobs of steely death.

    By contrast, I always enable automatic Daytime Running Lights for maximum visibility and to help other road users to judge closure (speed and distance) even during the brightest part of the day – where upon I get the flash-back from well-meaning others that think I’m going to run my battery down. #whatever

  6. Anonymous says:

    A – this is a big “cultural” habit imported from another Island not to far away…say what you want…It’s a fact.
    B – there is no regards by the license department if or if not a vehicle has light bulbs put in that are sold and clearly marked as “off road/racing only, not for use on public roads”…
    C – there is not a single shop that “adjusts and corrects” the proper hight of your headlights (yes they are adjustable and in the real world it’s a standard during service).
    D – many of the imported LHD vehicles are not converted to driving on the left (yes there is a difference in the glass/cover/reflector of the headlight).

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  7. Anonymous says:

    We also have a great many idiots unable to distinguish between mph and kph.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Seriously, Doing 40 kph on the highway is dangerous to other drivers.

      • Anonymous says:

        Going 24mph in a 40mph or 50mph zone seems to be a ticketable offense everywhere but in the Cayman Islands. “No person shall drive upon a highway at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation, because of a grade, or compliance with the law”. Coincidentally, driving impaired on drugs is also a crime everywhere else – going 24 mph doesn’t make your truck invisible, or your smoke less pungent. It compels the frustrated quarter mile of impeded traffic behind to plan and execute overtaking (and not always safely).

  8. Anonymous says:

    When British cars go to France and drive on the wrong side of the road they have to fit a little sticky bit of tape to the lights so it doesn’t do just what you are talking about

  9. Anonymous says:

    Good point! Also, drivers who pull over (park) on the opposite side of the road facing oncoming traffic with their headlights on! Disgusting!

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    • Anonymous says:

      I thought it was illegal to park on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic. Even if its not in the law, it should be common sense, but then again that isn’t too common.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It is also that the AIM of the headlights on low beam need adjustment. I was driving my truck at night and car after car was flashing their brights to indicate my high beams were on. However, they were not. So, I checked my vehicle’s Owner’s Manual for help. I followed the instructions to adjust the beam downward and have not had any cars flashing their brights at me since.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Instead of flashing your brights back at them, give them the full high-beam back until they turn them off. Works 9 times out of 10.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    As usual it’s a free for all. Vehicles with all kinds of lights, colours and intensies can be found on our roads. Now it’s nearing Christmas it’s shouldn’t be hard to find a few that are lit up like Christmas trees.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    As there is no measure of correctly adjusted headlights in the inspection I’m guessing the main cause is badly adjusted headlights.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Huh? I buy a car and then drive it. I do not touch the headlights. What is this business about adjusting headlights?

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Take a little milk with you when you go out in the nights with disposable cups. When you have them behind you blinding you, just fill a cup and chuck it up in the air as you are driving, when they are head on, throw it out when crossing. I’ve done it twice now. Its pretty funny to see them slam on their brakes while hitting lights, wipers, indicators and everything all at once. Not to mention the nice mess you made for them that will be dry and sticky by the time they get home to wash it off.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    While all these are great suggestions , one must remember that there is really zero pro-active implementation of traffic & road laws here to benefit drivers , its just not a priority of the policing style that exists , much to the detriment of road safety . I’ll trade bright high beams any day , if something could be done about the dump trucks doing 70 mph down Spotts straight .

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  16. Anonymous says:

    “I’m constantly blinded by at least 35% of vehicles driving around with high beam lights for no real reason.”

    Gotta love when readers provide stats

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Also, sometimes drivers do this to cover up the fact that their low beams aren’t working.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I thought that driving with high beams on was a Caymanian tradition/game so I fitted my truck with a 33,300 lumen light bar, which I switch on any time someone is coming at me with their high beams on. I am currently undefeated.

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  19. Jeremy says:

    Can we also consider the alignment between right hand drive and left hand drive will be different.

    Unfortunately since we drive on the left, most left hand driven vehicles will actually blind/dazzle most oncoming drivers, since their headlights are aligned differently.

    Please see the US DOT headlight Aiming Procedure, found here:

    https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/humanfac/04148/aiming.cfm

    In this article from the US Federal Highway Administration you will see that for left hand driven vehicles, the headlights are aligned higher on the right side. This is to avoid blinding or dazzling oncoming drivers which would be on the left.

    This means in our case, since we drive on the left, these LHD vehicles will actually blind or dazzle oncoming drivers.

    Now compare this to the UK MOT headlight test, for the right hand vehicles designed to be driven on the left like here:

    https://mattersoftesting.blog.gov.uk/the-mot-headlamp-aim-test-is-changing/

    As you can see from comparison between the dazzle zone of right hand driven vehicles are aligned to be the opposite of left hand vehicles.

    Most vehicles headlights today can be realigned to avoid dazzling drivers. I’m also concerned that headlight alignment isn’t thought about properly in Cayman. If we had a requirement to have most vehicles headlights aligned properly to our roads, I’m certain this problem wouldn’t be an issue today.

    I hope this provides some helpful insight to a common problem that is here in Cayman

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  20. Anonymous says:

    It’s not always high beams. A lot of vehicles have cheap retrofitted HID kits and LED bulbs which aren’t designed to be in standard halogen housings. This causes bad beam patterns and the light to reflect at random.

    Additionally, the majority of the left hand drive vehicles don’t have their beams adjusted for driving on the other side of the road.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are correct about the LHD cars and this can easily be checked during the annual tests.

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s the problem. All they seem to do now is check the lights are working, not where they’re pointing. In the UK headlight alignment has been part of the annual MoT for over 50 years – now they use equipment for the check but in the early days (I was there!) they simply marked a line on a wall and if the dipped beams went over it we adjusted them down.

        If the problem is with LHD vehicles the alignment is marked on the lenses and in most cases they have to either be changed or fitted with stick on beam convertors – you can’t adjust it out. However, some LHD vehicles have flat beam headlights that aren’t directional on dip so they’d be OK.

    • Anonymous says:

      Inspections should compulsorily require the headlight beams in left hand drive cars to be readjusted and aligned for right hand driving (on the left of the road) just as is required as part of the annual MOT in England.

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  21. M says:

    I believe there should be an ad campaign highlighting this and other issues such as how to use roundabouts. I think there are plenty people out there who have no idea what the rules are, passed their test a long time ago or by chance that will norms change u less they are educated.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The laws of roundabout use are simple. As you approach the roundabout pick any lane and move into it. Indicating is not necessary. Remember to increase your speed as you approach, to strike fear into those already on the roundabout so they slow down to give you the 5 inch gap you need.

      When you are on the roundabout and reach your exit, turn the wheel direction you wish to take. Looking in the rear view mirror and indicating are optional. If there is a pesky cyclist using the roundabout, be sure to chastise them by cutting them off abruptly, they just cause traffic to slow down anyway.

      If you are a school bus and the children need to go and get a pattie and orange juice you are free to stop anywhere convenient on the roundabouts by supermarkets for their convenience. Using the bus stop means they have to walk another 200 yards which is unacceptable.

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    • Anonymous says:

      How to use roundabouts, high beams and indicators.

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    • ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

      Anyone that has a driver’s licence and doesn’t follow the rules of the road should be ticketed each and every time they break the rules. Ad campaigns are great but the only thing that is going to change how people drive here is constant enforcement of all of the rules which will eventually get the rogue drivers off the road for good.

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