Tuesday, August 28, 2012


We were recently on Interstate 40 East, returning to Chapel Hill from the Hendersonville-Ashville area. About the time we started to climb up into the Pisgah National Park, the sky opened up and a torrential rain peppered us.  I had the wipers on the fastest setting and even so, it quickly grew difficult to see.  I noticed that at least a quarter of the cars going west and those passing me had no lights on, creating an even more unsafe situation.   

About the time we reached the bottom of the mountain the rain let up, but my anger didn’t.  Just what is the problem with these drivers who put others at risk?  Is it a case of not knowing that the law requires you to turn your lights on when operating your wipers?  Common sense ought to tell you that!  But what about those who know and for whatever reasons, just don’t do it?  But worse yet, what about those who really don’t know or don’t remember the rules required to get their driver’s license?  Those who just don’t know things like the “lights on” rule might also be unaware of other important things that they should know, and their ignorance can affect not just them, but the rest of us too.   

I’m not sure how we upgrade our civic education and do better to enhance the transmission of critical information in this information age, but clearly, there’s enough antidotal evidence that we have a lot of work to do to ensure people are aware of just basic stuff, not to mention the nice to know stuff. Just drive around Chapel Hill when it’s raining and note the lights that are out! Love to hear some solutions!  

NOTE: After this commentary was recorded, the N&O did a piece on this topic and offered some reasons why the law isn't working. Read it here.