For those who work with our hands, the day is often never long enough; up before dawn and often still going after dark, to many of us our Maglite is as ubiquitous as our wallet, keys or pocket knife. In honor of our luminescent friend, here is a list of the times we would most regret not having it handy.
Car Trouble at Night
Tires go flat, engines run hot, strange noises can start suddenly and, of course, these things almost invariably happen away from home. Broken down on the side of the road is the last place anyone wants to be when on the way to or from work, going out on the weekend or even returning home from some time out with friends. Barring catastrophe, this can be overcome with little inconvenience if properly prepared with a vehicular emergency kit that includes: water, a quart of oil, a properly inflated spare tire, tire iron, jack and, of course, a flashlight. However, all of your well-prepared supplies may as well be in the garage at home if it’s too dark to put them to use.
Getting Stuck on a Hike After Nightfall
Once is too many times to find yourself in rapidly fading light, unsure footing and some distance to camp or a vehicle when without a light source. The worst case of this I ever experienced was when I was sitting on top of a 400-foot rock spire and came to realize I had an hour of sunlight and a two-hour, very technical descent ahead of me. Although I got most of myself out, no small amount of skin and equipment was claimed by the mountain that night. By being prepared, I could have even rescued others who were unexpectedly, and dangerously, blinded by the dark.
Working on a Building Without Power
We often take for granted just how important electricity is in our lives until the power goes out in our home or we have to do some work on a building that hasn’t yet been hooked up. As aggravating as electrical work is, it’s invariably made worse by the hellish combination of poor light and the necessity of attention to detail and precision. Wiring attics and basements aside, putting in a simple light switch can be made 10 times worse by a reliance on dim, distant natural lighting or even clumsy stationary floodlights which will cast huge shadows. A pocket flashlight or headlight immediately alleviates these pains.
Doing Household Handyman Work
Even after a long day of work, many people have to come home to a second job — resident handyman. It’s cold, it’s dark, a 10-hour shift has been punched, but a car needs tinkering with or maybe some pipes are having problems, and you don’t want to waste time and money dealing with a professional when you can do the job just as well yourself. You go turn on the porch light, lift up the hood and realize you may as well have left the porch light off for all the good it does. You could be climbing under the sink to take a look at that leaky drain down there, fitting in between the cleaning products and getting hit in the face by what you hope is clean water, but you may as well keep your eyes closed for all you can see without a flashlight.
Hearing a Bump in the Night
Afraid of the boogeyman? No. Vigilant about the possibility of a home invasion? You bet. This is probably the worst moment to be without a flashlight, which can provide a sense of security in a number of ways. The light can be used as a harmless weapon to blind the target while keeping your eyes perfectly keen, which can give a much-needed edge. Conversely, overhead lights might spook the intruder into more rash action before you can call for help. Although no one should find themselves in this situation, they should definitely never do so unprepared.
With the simple addition of a flashlight to any toolkit, glove box, bedside table or hiking backpack can help to avoid these five, easily avoidable situations. Even by having a pocket-sized light, an unfortunate situation can be improved or even avoided altogether.
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