Blinded at 60mph and you barely bat an eye | Jack Marshall’s column

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A request: take a beat to grapple with a very simple but equally astonishing fact.

The fact itself may shock you. It’s perhaps not a fact you will immediately recognise for its factual validity - in fact, you may instinctively deny its factual nature, every atom in your body humming with denial. But think hard about the fact. And I’ll be dumbfounded if you don’t eventually agree that it is indeed a fact.

The fact is this: you have, like I and many others just like us, piloted a 1.4-ton vehicle at speed whilst blind. Now stay with me, I know that it seems mad. No chance, I can hear you think. Your eyesight is impeccable, your character unimpeachable - you would be physically and morally incapable of engaging in such a reckless activity. It’s simply too dangerous.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But the fact remains a fact: you’ve done it. No matter how terrifyingly dangerous and mind-blowingly crazy and migraine-inducingly implausible and surely-illegal and ‘how-can-they-let-this-happen?’ such a madcap scenario may seem, you’ve done it. The culprit? It have two words for you: high beams.

High beams. Photo by Christopher Furlong Getty ImagesHigh beams. Photo by Christopher Furlong Getty Images
High beams. Photo by Christopher Furlong Getty Images

It’s night time. You’re travelling at 58mph on a single carriage road rural enough so as not to have the blessing of streetlights. It’s very dark, so you flick the high beams on. No matter how many times you’ve nudged that paddle to activate them, the high beams’ power never fails to faintly surprise and impress. Here we go, you think. Now we’re cooking with gas.

The trouble is, other cars and other drivers and other high beams are doing exactly the same thing on the exact same road. And, when two clunky lightsabers made of steel, aluminium, and faux leather meet, the decorum of the roads dictates that each of you dims their high beams out of respect for your fellow drivers’ eyesight and vehicular wellbeing.

But sometimes one of you forgets. All of a sudden, you’re engaged in a retina-joust, squinting into a ray of light so dazzling your only recourse is to trust that Jesus will take the wheel. Your pupils are pin-prick tiny behind eyelids scrunched-up against the gleam. Then the car careens past and all is darkness. You’ve just driven blind, but you blink it away.

And on you go, as if nothing happened.

Related topics: