. . . no matter if it’s in Africa, South America, or Australia, is, you never, ever drive at night. The second rule is, you always wind up driving at night. It’s happened to us more than we care to admit, both through our own misjudgment or rushed scheduling and through circumstances we couldn’t control (those bandits in Loliondo come to mind . . .). We just experienced the, er, former situation on our way from Port Augusta, on the southern coast of Australia, to Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory.
The Stuart Highway is a good, fast (110 kph) road, but driving it in the daytime reveals the extent of the Kangaroo Karnage that goes on at night, when they are most active. And we had three hours of at-the-limit full-dark driving to do to get where we “needed” to go. It was a nerve-wracking drive with the ever-present risk of a large marsupial bounding across in front of us, and I especially don’t imagine one wants to hit a kangaroo at the apogee of a jump.
Fortunately we had installed a pair of ARB Intensity AR21 LED driving lamps prior to the journey. In the past I’d been wary of LED driving lamps, having tried too many that exhibited annoying color fringing or too-high color temperature, or spotty pattern. Not these—they displayed zero fringing, and the pattern, despite being the “spot” version, created a perfectly even flood of daylight far down the road and well onto the verge. This was not the typical UV scattering that fools one into thinking an LED light pattern is better than it is; it was genuine illumination, and my blood pressure stayed 20 points lower than it would have been without them. (The only downside, which is true with any driving lamp, is that when you flick them off for oncoming traffic it appears your vehicle’s standard headlamps are now powered by votive candles.)
The Intensity AR21 lamps are without doubt the best driving lamps I’ve used, eclipsing previous benchmarks such as the 130-watt IPFs on my FJ40, and even the legendary rally standard from decades ago, the Cibié Super Oscar. And the icing on the cake, of course, is that LEDs draw far less power than halogen lamps or even HIDs. I’ll be installing them (or the even larger and brighter Intensity AR32s) on every 4×4 vehicle we own. I’m tempted to say screw the aesthetics and bolt a set on the 911 . . .