Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tinted side windows big safety problem

I’m seeing more and more of them, so I looked it up online, and it seems that tinted side-front car windows are legal in Oregon. How dumb is that? Tinted windows completely obliterate any hope of eye contact with a driver.

There are so many situations in which we need to know if someone is seeing us or not. You can save your own behind if you’re lucky enough to be able to see that a driver is looking the other way, yakking away on a cell phone, or just not paying attention.

Even without window tinting it’s hard enough to see the driver because of reflection on the glass. We can’t do anything about that, but why make it worse by allowing tinted windows? As pedestrians, cyclists, and even as drivers, we all benefit hugely from eye contact when it's possible.

Note to drivers: Don’t assume that anyone outside your car can see your gesturing. Chances are, the reflection is such that they can’t see through your window glass. While you’re gesturing wildly away, they many have no idea you’re even looking in their direction.

When I’m driving, I’ll often roll down windows that I’m looking through, to make it easier for other drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists to see me-the-driver rather than just me-the-car. A lot of communication can occur by eye contact alone.

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