Lights on for life

Motorists are being urged to drive with their lights on low to reduce the risk of  accidents.

Cars with their lights on are up to 25% less likely to end up in a fatal daytime collision this Christmas, says the car review website editor Clive Matthew-Wilson – who is an active road safety campaigner – says:

“The science is absolutely clear: if other motorists can see you, they can avoid colliding with you.”

In Europe, all vehicles are required to have lights on at all times.

“Driving with your headlights on low beam during the day is a proven way of reducing your accident risk. However, you still have to remember to turn your headlights off again at the end of the journey. In the longer term, drivers should fit daytime running lights to their vehicles.”

Unlike spotlights and foglights, which often dazzle other drivers, daytime running lights are designed solely to be noticed. Thanks to LED technology, daytime running lights now use less electricity than some car stereos.

Daytime running lamps normally turn on automatically when the engine is switched on, and turn off automatically when the engine is switched off or the headlamps are switched on.  

Daytime running lights are now fitted to many new cars, but can be retrofitted to virtually any vehicle.

According to European studies on the effectiveness of daytime running lights in improving road safety, the potential savings are:

• 25% of daytime multi-vehicle fatal accidents (11% of all non-pedestrian fatal accidents)

• 28% of daytime fatal pedestrian accidents (12% of all fatal pedestrian accidents)

• 20% of daytime multi-vehicle injury accidents

• 12% of daytime multi-vehicle property accidents.

Other studies have shown fewer safety benefits, but virtually all studies have shown a significant drop in both accidents and fatalities where headlights or daytime running lights were used during daylight hours.

Matthew-Wilson adds:

“You can’t control the other drivers on the road. However, by having your lights on during the day, you can make sure other drivers see you before a collision takes place.”

 It’s a simple enough precaution to take and  with modern cars you get a beep to alert you that your lights are on should you forget to turn them off before opening the driver’s door.

It doesn’t work if you get out the passenger door though.

I parked close to a wall once and decided it would be easier to get out the passenger door. I forgot the lights were on until too late to stop the battery going flat.



2 Responses to Lights on for life

  1. Gravedodger says:

    Been a practice in this family for around twenty years.
    Once owned a Saab that was ahead of its time in many ways that had the headlights on the ignition circuit, is that a Scandinavian thing.
    Currently swmbos car, a citreon, does not have that feature but has another great feature where the headlights can only be switched on on low beam as a default setting.

    Have been asked often why we drive in good visibility with headlights on which brings the inevitable reply, the bastard who hits us will struggle to say “didnt see you” with any degree of credibility

    During a debate on the practice when we started all those years ago, a contender for dickwit of the weak, a polly, made the deep theoretical observation ” it will raise fuel consumption”, unbelievable.

    An unlit Motor cycle is now a rare sight, my last one, a Harley had the same feature as the Saab car.


  2. Richard says:

    GD. Have adopted the same practice of lights on, whatever daylight/night after returning to NZ 30 something years ago. My biggest fear are farmers in utes who drive as they would in a paddock-slow slow,looking for cattle or sheep? Pain in the ——


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