Over the years I have had some minor problems with car headlights, usually because I’d forget to turn them on. So when we got the new Jeep and it had automatic headlights, I was really happy.
I’ve learned to trust the various engineering advances, so I was confident the lights would always come on at the appropriate time. In short, I was spoiled rotten. Then came the recent Wednesday snow storm.
When I started my six o’clock class at the Edison Greenville location that evening, it was clear. When the 7:30 class came in they said it was terrible out. By 8 p.m. the college was closed, and I started the short drive home.
There was a lot of traffic on our well-lit Main Street, but everybody was allowing plenty of room between vehicles, and in town it wasn’t too bad yet.
I wheeled along confidently in four-wheel drive with a salt truck just ahead of me and another one right behind me. About a half block before I turned onto Vine Street, a driver coming toward me flashed his headlights. My first thought was “Why did he do that?” Second thought, “Couldn’t have been anyone I know, because if they know me, they know I can never find the horn fast enough to toot at them.”
Then I had to concentrate on hitting the turn signal so the truck behind me knew where I was going. The vehicles ahead of me went straight, and I carefully turned.
With eyes wide open I realized why the headlights had flashed at me seconds before. With no vehicles in front of me, I was really in the dark—no headlights. I felt frantically over the dash for a button to push.
Luckily for me the salt truck following me also turned, so his headlights were right behind me, and I was less than half a block from our driveway.
I made it into our driveway, I opened the car door so the interior lights came on and I continued the search for the light switch as Bill came toward the car.
I was sure he was going to yell at me because I was driving without the headlights on, so I yelled first, “What happened to the automatic headlights?”
He said, “Huh?”
Too late I realized he hadn’t noticed I was driving in the dark. “Doesn’t this Jeep have a button to push when the automatic lights aren’t automatic?”
“Of course it does,” he quickly replied, “I showed you where it was when we got the Jeep last March. It’s right there on the left on the steering column.”
Sure enough the button was there, just like it was then. However he had turned off the automatic part when he warmed the car up earlier in the day. How was I supposed to know?
Well, it’s all right now. I know how to turn on the automatic headlights when they’re not automatic, and I’m sure I’ll remember, until the next time.
Anyway, that wasn’t nearly as bad as the time I drove home from Covington late at night without headlights. But that’s another column.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Daily Advocate on Feb. 2, 2000.