As more and more Ugandans acquire cars, there is an urge among owners to differentiate their ride from the rest. Many opt for modifications. Unknown to them however, there are some vehicle modifications that are illegal and could land the vehicle owner in jail or attract a hefty fine. Many other modifications might be a nuisance or hazard to other road users. Take these examples:
Tinting or masking of vehicle lamps:
Believe it or not, I recently saw a vehicle with the head lamps painted black to match the body design. It was all sleek looking but then I asked myself whether the design would not affect performance. That is how I started researching online about such modifications. Apparently, all vehicle lamps head lamps, stop lamps, and signal lamps, must meet internationally recognised standards. Tinting or masking of these lamps may aersely affect their performance.
Kampalans love to hoot and hoot big. Unbeknown to them the loud and shrill sound of the horn, if used carelessly, has been pinned as a cause of accidents. In most cases, a started driver might react in a dangerous manner to the distraction or scare.
Initially found only in high-end vehicles, Daytime Running Lamps (DRLs) are finding their way onto every other jalopy. These are a far cry from the factory-fitted DRLs installed on high-end vehicles by the vehicle manufacturer. Such DRLs are not designed to meet internationally recognised vehicle standards and can, in fact be hazardous. They present unwanted glare and distraction to other motorists on the road.
To understand what this is all about, one needs to take a ride around town at night. Big trucks and long distance buses are the main culprits. But even mycars and bodaboda cyclists should not be left out. They have wiper washer LEDs, undercarriage neon lights, vehicle interior neon lights, flashing decorative lights. Such decorative lamps may cause confusion and distraction to other road users.
In this class, we talk about the aftermarket High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamp kits, and high wattage bulbs. These are popular. Unfotunately, they in most cases do not fit internationally recognised standards. Aftermarket HID lamp kits retrofitted into existing headlamps may cause unwanted glare when used. Even replacement bulbs need to be those recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Using a higher wattage bulb may increase the risk of fire because of a greater current being drawn to power these lamps.
Spot lights are useful for travelling in remote areas without road lightings. The light beam projected from a spot light is more focused as compared to the diffused pattern of a fog lamp. In a normal driving environment these spot lamps may cause glare and distraction to other road users.
This applies mainly to accident cars. Although the chassis is an integral part of a vehicle and it is recommended that a vehicle is scrapped if the chassis is badly damaged, some motorists cling to them. The result is what we sometimes see a vehicle which literary disintegrates as it is being driven – with serious consequences.
Source : The Independent