AA Car care: Focus on daytime running lights
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Daytime running lamps (DRLs) have been around since the 1970s, when they were introduced in Europe to increase visibility of motorists’ vehicles to other road users during adverse weather or lighting conditions.
There’s been some debate around the crash-reducing ability of DRLs and how effective they’ve been across the globe.
Some people argue they’re not necessary and can dazzle other motorists.
There’s also been the argument that vehicle emissions are increased by having your lights continuously on, but most new vehicles are now adopting LEDs in their lighting systems and maintaining emission standards.
If your car doesn’t have DRLs fitted, you are allowed to fit up to two after-market DRLs to your vehicle, but there are a few things to remember.
● DRLs should not be used when headlights are switched on
● They must operate in a way that is appropriate for the lamp and the vehicle
● They must emit a steady light and provide sufficient light output to make the vehicle more easily seen during the day without dazzling other road users.
If your vehicle is already equipped with DRLs, you cannot add any more. And, if you want them to work efficiently and do their job, it’s important to keep on top of the maintenance.
Some factory setups have curved LED DRLs incorporated into the headlights that are able to reduce in brightness and double up as a park lamp.
These set-ups must also turn off the DRL when the indicator is activated to allow other motorists to concentrate on seeing the indicator rather than focusing on the bright DRL. However, they can occasionally be misinterpreted by other road users as being on.
The NZ Transport Agency states that problems relating to vehicle lighting contribute to about seven deaths and 88 injuries on our roads every year, and so it’s important to ensure your headlight lenses aren’t tarnished or cloudy yellowish colour.
DRLs aren’t designed to help you see the route ahead. They’re designed to help others see you.
If your car doesn’t have DRLs and lighting conditions are poor during the day, the AA encourages motorists to use their headlights on low beam