There are quite a few people out there–you know who you are–who don’t like having front license plates on their automobiles even though having one is required by law in the state of California. Here, I will state my case in support of front license plates.
On Saturday, July 5, 2008, I got stuck in traffic on the 57 North because of a fire caused by a vehicle fire on the highway that spread to the area alongside the highway. At the time, I was headed to Don (Xanga: udonoogen) and Hanley’s (Xanga: randomranting) place to meet up before we headed to that evening’s Angel game against the Toronto Blue Jays. I was South of the Tonner Canyon exit and stuck in an extreme amount of traffic.
The traffic came to a dead stop on an incline where I found myself behind a black 2004 Honda Civic Sedan like the one pictured above. As we crawled up the hill, I noticed the driver of the car would let his vehicle roll back a bit while he was waiting around. This happened more than once, which should’ve been my cue to move into another lane. Not giving it much thought, I stayed behind the Civic (stupidly) hoping traffic would lighten up because the congestion was making me late.
A minute or two later, the traffic trudges forward and comes to another stop, except this time, the said Civic starts rolling back with more steam than before (3-4 mph). Once I realized it was going to roll back into me at the rate it was traveling, I hit the car horn and kept my hand on it. The driver didn’t react until *after* his car hit mine!!! Unbelievable!
But wait, there’s more! After moving his car up a few feet, he let his car roll back into mine again, even though I was blaring the horn the entire second instance. I couldn’t believe it! Whether I should have or not, I kept my car behind his as traffic continued to slog along. A few minutes later, the traffic came to a stop again. I got of my car, took a three second look at the front end. Everything seemed okay. I walked up to the driver’s window of the Civic and told the man, “You need to be more careful.” He then proceeds to ask me, “Is there any damage to my car?” The nerve of the fella!!! I replied, “I don’t think so.” While I was admonishing the guy, I checked out his center console to confirm that his car had a 5-speed manual transmission because a car with an automatic tranny wouldn’t have rolled back like his did at idle engine speed. He also didn’t seem like he had all his ducks in a row. I seriously hope he wasn’t intoxicated in some way at the time.
When I got to Don and Hanley’s, I inspected the front bumper more carefully for damage. That’s when I noticed the damage to the front license plate mount. It had been pressed into the bumper as a result of the impact. It currently looks recessed a little bit into the bumper at a slight angle. My USC Trojans front license plate frame and the corner of the plate itself were also bent by the impact.
Some of you may be wondering why I didn’t try to go after the inconsiderate man. I figured the damage, or lack thereof, wasn’t enough to merit going through all the trouble of getting compensation from him. I wrote his license plate number down and took a cell phone photo of his car. While the incident itself sucked, I was relieved that more damage wasn’t done to my car’s front bumper. I’m convinced the front license plate and its mount protected my car’s front end. And that, folks, is why, I support front license plates!
Here are photos of the damage caused by one person’s atrocities.
You must excuse how dirty the car is. I subjected it to this three days prior to the time these photos were taken. More to come on the fun I had in the dirt later!
On Friday, June 20, 2008, an odd thing happened to my car’s odometer. Its backlight (see the lower right corner of the photo above) stopped working! My thoughts ranged from, “<sarcasm>Great</sarcasm>. Now I’ll have to spend more money on the car. Replacing this will be a pain, too, because the replacement instrument cluster will have to be turned to my car’s current mileage,” to “Upgrade time! ” after thinking a 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi instrument cluster (seen below) retrofit could work. The problem with retrofitting a STi instrument cluster is that my car doesn’t have the driver-controlled center differential (DCCD) or an outside temperature sensor. Retrofitting the STi cluster would require modifying the cluster itself to make it work well with my car and getting it turned to my car’s mileage.
I don’t know what caused the odometer backlight to go out. My car’s left side headlight bulb went out the previous night. Perhaps that had something to do with it. I replaced both headlight bulbs with European-spec Philips Vision Plus +50 H1 headlight bulbs (which are amazing by the way – I’d say their light output is better than the Euro-spec Osram Silverstar bulbs) on Saturday morning. I took the car for a quick spin to Wal-Mart and back on Saturday afternoon, but didn’t notice if the odometer backlight was on or not (it should be on anytime the ignition is in the on position). It wasn’t until I was leaving church on Sunday afternoon that I noticed the odometer backlight was fully functional again. Seeing it illuminated again was a relief!
For kicks, here’s a shot of my car’s instrument cluster using my camera’s nightvision mode and flash. That’s right, folks! With it, I can see you, but you might not be able to see me! j/k