This season of mists and mellow fruitfulness has brought out a new road hazard.
It’s not the fruitfulness that’s the problem, of course, because a few apples on the roads is neither here nor there. It’s the mists.
And for many people this is the first the first bit of fog since they bought their new car with daylight running lights as standard.
The idea of these is that they make the car easier for people to see during the day, but what many drivers do not realise is that they are only on the front. So anyone coming up behind in fog will not see you until the last minute.
It’s another one of those things the powers across Europe have decided would be a good idea, but haven’t bothered to make sure people are educated in their use.
The same happened when rear foglamps came in. A great idea – I had a set fitted in before they became law – but it was years before they were included in the Highway Code.
So you had people who thought they were ‘rear ever so slightly misty lights’ and those who would switch them on in a traffic jam at night to ensure the driver behind had no night vision. A busy motorway on a wet night became a blinding sheen of red into which brake lights merged.
It does not help, of course, that a ridiculously small percentage of new car owners bother reading the handbook.
So if the car maker has told them how to use any new features, they don’t know.
I’ve never really understood that. You have just spent tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of pounds on a sophisticated new car and do not bother to find out how to use what you have bought.
I once showed a local farmer how to use a genius bit of off-road driving technology in his £65,000 Range Rover and he said : “That’s clever. I wondered what that knob was. “
He didn’t know how to pair his mobile phone to the Bluetooth, either.
But there are also people who seem to need instructions on the weather.
I noticed this morning that on the way into Mildenhall, almost all of the cars coming out of the town had no lights on in spite of the poor visibility.
Yet when you came out the other side, all the cars coming into town from the countryside had lights on.
Is that because country people are more aware of changing conditions or just that townies are too shy to want to draw attention to themselves.