|Site Updated:||Page Updated: Tue, Jan 09, 2007|
Alaska is the "Land of the Midnight Sun." So, why am I putting so much thought into exterior lights? Because the long daylight only lasts part of the year, right around summer solstice. The opposite is true around winter solstice, when Alaska could also be called the "Land of Perpetual Darkness." I plan to use this motorhome throughout the year so I'll need good lights in the spring and fall and especially in the winter months.
When I started this project, I had some very definite ideas as to what I wanted for exterior lights:
The first three deal with basic safety issues. The elevated driver's position allows me to see farther down the road, recognizing and preparing for hazards before they become problems. However, that advantage does little good if the headlights aren't up to the task.
The second and third items deal with problems any biker or trucker can tell you about. Your typical citizen driver operates in a mental fog, barely aware of what's going on around him or her. While motorcycles can be hard to see, it's difficult to understand how anyone can miss noticing an 18-wheeler. So, I'm going to use everything and anything that decreases the chances of someone running into my motorhome.
The primary condition unique to Alaska is moose in the road. Just about everyone up here has a couple of stories to tell and some of us even swear they wait at the side of the road to wander out in front of us. Weighing up to 1,800 pounds, they can put a helluva dent in your vehicle, even at slow speeds.
To deal with it, we're in the habit of scanning the sides of the road, watching for any large dark blob. Some of us even use moose-lights, which are very bright lights that really light up the Alaska roads on dark winter nights (and days). Moose-lights are often off-road lights, illegal for on-road use. However, given the choice, I'll take a ticket over destroying my vehicle because a moose decided to meander out into the road.
As for the rest of the list, I plan to use LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights everywhere I can. They use about 1/10th the electricity of equivalent incandescent bulbs, they almost never burn out, and, properly mounted, it just about takes a sledge hammer to damage them. If you're sloppy with a soldering iron, you can fry them, but otherwise they're damn near foolproof.
NOTE: I intend to buy the majority of my LED lights from Saving Grace Supply.
I'll be using LED lights primarily to save electricity. (Engine alternators require horsepower, which cuts into your gas mileage.) The only things I'm sure I'm going to use conventional lights for is the headlights and moose-lights. I'm even looking into using LEDs for driving lights, fog lights, and backup lights, although I may add a set of auxiliary lights to use when it's really dark and the regular backup lights aren't bright enough to let you see what's behind you.
|Federal Lighting Equipment Location Requirements