IT might be stating the obvious, but your car’s headlights are a safety device, and not all headlights are created equal.
You have vehicles that are blessed with perfect lighting to the extent that motorists are able to see properly while driving at night, while others struggle due to the poor headlamps.
Those that undertake long distance trips, especially on the Great North Road heading to and from Nakonde in Muchinga Province, will attest to being blinded by the crazy lighting on Tanzanian trucks.
Many of these trucks have extra lighting and at night would light up like a Christmas tree but much brighter.
Accidents have happened on many occasions at night because motorists were blinded by these bright and unauthorised lights of oncoming traffic.
While others want to genuinely improve their sight at night by adding extra lights, others tend to overdo it and inconvenience the other road users.
They go looking for a solution for their lights, starting with their local automotive parts store. But stuffing aftermarket LED headlight bulbs into motor vehicle housings designed for conventional halogen unit, results in dangerous glare for oncoming drivers.
While LED can deliver more intense light at a higher end of the spectrum, most aftermarket units also create a hazardous condition.
Most renowned stores know this, and will not supply such LED bulb unless specifically prescribed by the vehicle manufactures.
It is no wonder the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) has taken a dim view of the escalating practice of motorists affixing additional LED lights to their vehicles.
In a statement to the media, RTSA said the action is illegal and contravenes Regulation 34 of the Road Traffic (‘construction, equipment and use’) which, among other rules, prescribes how lights should be installed on a motor vehicle.
It is about time that the Agency took action against these illegal lights that are easily purchased cheaply in most Asian shops.
Such vehicles should be impounded on sight when found and drivers prosecuted with the full weight of the law.
It has become increasingly dangerous to allow such lights on vehicles at night and on such bad stretches as the Ndola-Kabwe road, which has no road markings on most parts and is full of craters and generally rough portions.
Motorists should also not simply complain about these illegal lights but utilize the RTSA toll-free number to report those endangering lives while driving with stadium floodlight-like lights.