To See and Be Seen

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Having ridden a motorcycle for a while now, the concept always rattling around in my brain has been, “drivers can’t see you.”  Magazines, training programs and a rider’s general experiences all reinforce that idea – motorists, while not intentionally trying to kill you, are intentionally trying to kill you. So the rider always tries to figure out a way to be more visible – lane positioning, headlights and high beams, screaming zonker yellow body suits, the like.

So what about a car – a small, low and sub-standardly-safety-equipped one at that?  In the first month of driving the GSi, I had two people cut in front of me in a manner that was strikingly similar to motorcycling experiences.  It’s bright red – you’d think… well, I have little hope for much of the motoring public.  Like a smart person once said, half the population is less than average.  It applies to driving skill to be sure.

Short of installing ridiculous bro-gasmic LED light bars on the roof, there are precious few options for increasing visibility on a 90’s subcompact car.  A visit to the local auto parts store was in order.

After a few minutes of aisle-wandering and upgraded bulbs in hand, the next step would be to take care of a 1970s terrarium forming in the glass light headlight housing.

Don't act like your parents didn't have this classic Sunset book somewhere.
Don’t act like your parents didn’t have this classic Sunset book tucked away somewhere.

Nothing growing in it – yet – but the amount of water inside the housing was a bit alarming.  I had visions of drilling tiny drain holes, engineering rubber hose systems to keep the whole thing dry, stuff of nightmares, honestly.

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Just add fern spores

Alas, and perhaps for the first time in history, the truth ended up being far less scary than the potential that awaited me.  The thing comes apart with three metal clips – that are re-useable.  Knock me over with a feather.

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Some scrubbing of the yellowed glass brought back a nice shine and after a good long dry on the heater vent, it was time for reassembly.  The diagnosis was a very hardened and crusty gasket installed on the back plastic back side of the unit.  A small bead of heavy duty silicone applied, and assembly was the reverse of disassembly.  Is it Factory Fresh?  The best highest and best manner of repair?  Nah, but it’ll probably last another decade or two, and that’s pretty good.  And it cost about four bucks for the silicone.

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Some more dry time, then careful installation of the new, upgraded bulbs – might as well do it all while it is all in pieces on the workbench.  Oh, but wait – to see how the new bulbs stack up against the old.  One bulb in, then test time.

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Not hugely noticeable from the cell phone picture, but a definite improvement on the road.  Other bulb in, and a quick and cheap project complete – so easy, a five-year-old could do it.

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On to the next project.  Hopefully it will go as smoothly…

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2 thoughts on “To See and Be Seen

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