Car Headlights/Dead Battery Woes

I am always leaving my lights on…I don’t even realize I’m putting the lights on… and apparently I don’t pay attention to the alarm that goes off. Anyway, I was wondering if there is any way to re-wire the lights to attach them to the ignition rather then the battery? Thanks, ANN

There is a way to do it, but it will cost for a good mechanic to do it. May I suggest best that yo pay a little more attention as to what you are doing. I have found in my long life that one step at a time is the best way to go on.

Ann, I don’t know how old you are, but if you are a senior citizen, maybe it is time to hang up the keys for your safety and the safety of others. If you miss the alarm, then that should be telling you something. Even if you are young, you should consider your driving abilities. Consider both your own safety and maybe more important the safety of the other drivers on the road.

I am 60 and I have already told my kids that if they see me getting to that stage, they have not only my permission but my orders to see to it that I see reason or that my car is taken away from me. In fact they have that in writing.

As has been said, this information should be a concern on a level more significant than a possible dead battery.

I say this with all due respect, and out of concern for both you and those who share the road with you:

If you are this unconnected with the simple process of insuring that all switches are turned off before exiting the car, it also makes one wonder if you are also unconnected with the actual driving process.

Anyone can make this mistake once in a while, but if you have already dealt with a dead battery, surely you should have enough awareness of the situation to go through a standard protocol of turning off every electrical switch before you even turn off the ignition. And, if your car has a functioning “lights on” alarm, yet you are ignoring this alarm, this really should be a concern about your level of awareness/connectedness/consciousness of what is going on around you.

In the short term, perhaps something as simple as a note on your dashboard with the word LIGHTS printed on it can help you. In the long term, both Subaru and Toyota vehicles turn the lights off when the ignition is turned off, so those models should be on your shopping list when you next purchase a car. However, if your mental alertness is beginning to fade, these suggestions will not help you to avoid an accident that could occur because you are not connected with what is going on around you.

This situation should serve as a “wake-up” call to you that all is not well with you in a physical sense. How would you feel if your lack of mental alertness led to the death of innocent people on the road? Perhaps a visit to your physician is in order.

I’m easily distracted myself and tend to be forgetful. I find it helps to have a mental checklist of things to do before getting out of the car. For example, shift into park, set the parking brake, roll up windows, turn off lights, turn off engine, and most important - put car keys into pocket not car seat. After getting out of the car, turn around and make sure the doors are locked and the lights are off. I do this routine without thinking and it keeps me out of trouble most of the time.

Ed B.

Rather than give you life and moral lessons based on what you wrote in 3 sentences, may I suggest a brightly colored label or sticker on the headlight switch?

Many newer cars have this function built in from the factory. There is a timer that shuts off the lights after a few minutes with the engine off. Retro-fitting such a device would not be hard, here is a link to a JC Whitney product that does this.

Thank you, Ranck, for an actual useful reply. No I’m not a senior citizen… and no I’m not an unsafe driver. Stupid for me to ask such a question on a car bullitin board and expect a car related answer. I don’t know why I do it, I just always have. I know… I should turn off the lights and have a mental checklist and all that. I don’t think forgetting to turn the lights off makes me an unsafe driver. Again, Thank you Ranck for a useful answer. Final time I’ll be asking a question on this board!

No one was trying to insult you, really. The comments offered were from a real concern. We see all kinds here and there are more than a few who need an answer to the question they did not ask. It would truly be a disservice if we ignored that. Keep in mind none of us knows you and we are only replying to the message you wrote and the information you provided.

Forgetting to turn off the lights happens all the time. That is why Toyota shuts them off after while. Ignoring an alarm is probably what tripped some triggers here. That does indicate someone who is not paying attention to what is happening. Sorry if this offended you, but this was a danger signal, and we do discuss safe driving here, that is definitely car related. Look at the articles by the Brothers and you will see they comment on that often.

I am 66, and at this time still doing well. In early February, I drove almost 1600 US miles in two days, with no close calls. I use close calls as a marker. Close calls indicate unless you change something, you are headed for a wreck because you are doing something wrong.

When I started driving in Mexico, July 2004, with a completely different driving culture, I had quite a few close calls, and knew I had to learn fast. Each trip there were fewer, and after about two years, there were none. I even drive down through the Texcoco area, which has traffic much worse than I have ever seen in Mexico City itself, and do not have close calls. That surprised me more than anyone, hee, hee. Five hundred miles a day in Mexico is a hard day, even on cuotas! On lesser roads, even paved roads, it’s very hard to average 30 mph.

I think several things are involved with older people driving well or poorly. Those who drive little, I believe, tend to lose skills. Someone who drives only to the grocery store or a short distance to work for many months, then takes a long country trip may have problems. Those with any health problems tend to lose skills. Eyesight problems can really make a driver dangerous, things such as cataracts v. night driving, or loss of depth sense.

At this time, my health is great. Three years ago, I was clearly pre-diabetic, then my daughter gave me a copy of Atkins. I finally realized since I am hypoglycemic, I needed to stay at the starting phase, nearly zero carbs. My blood pressure went down to under 110/66, and I don’t need no stinkin’ Viagra. When I visit my son-in-law, I tell him to leave the heavy lifting for me so he doesn’t hurt himself, and he is not offended, though I am actually only good for around 110 pounds. I think this makes safe driving at my age. I realize my health could disappear tomorrow, but for the present I still drive well.

Spend as much time and energy maintaining yourself as you do your car, and you may be able to drive well, even in advanced age. The best diet and exercise program for you may be different than for someone else, so you may have to come up with your own program. Last week on the Web was a 100 year old woman who got her license renewed. My wife’s foster mother drove a car of people to the church party for her 90th birthday party.

It is possible to have them re-wired to link into the ignition. However then you might face the problem and annoyance of having to have the ignition on anytime you need your headlights, to open a gate, etc.

I find the problem as a result of having a car with automatic headlights. I somply let them on day and night… when I then switched to “lesser” vbehicles I forgot the switch off. I’m not alone in this.
it may be possible to get a logic modile which can perform all sorts of tricks, depending on what is on or off or open or closed at the time. I have not seen such an item, but I know it is possible, given the gymnastics modern electronics can perform.