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Daytime Running Lights

What's the story with DRLs, some have been around since 1995 ? There are many kinds: high beam, low beam, parking light, dedicated DRL, fog light, low power, mid power, high power, yellow, white, etc.--no standard. The NHTSA has allowed this confusion to exist for over 10 years. Also they evidently have insufficient data as to the effectiveness of DRL as they have never been mandated.

Comments

  • nortsr1nortsr1 Posts: 1,060
    I believe they are mandated in Canada. I also believe all GM cars now come standard with DRL. Some studies have been made...but...I cannot refer any of them to you. Perhaps if you Google DRL studies????
  • dranoeldranoel Posts: 79
    Yes they have been mandatory in Canada for over 10 years. Also some Baltic countries also require them. I guess the thing that bothers me is the lack of direction by the NHTSA. GM petitioned the NHTSA in the early 1990s to allow them to experiment with DRLs, and they were granted permission.--well here we are better than a decade later and the industry is still experimenting-- as mentioned in my first post-many different DRL configurations-intensity, location, color, etc. I'm not convinced we need DRLS, if you need lights, there is always the light switch, however if DRLs are to be mandated there is the low to mid intensity yellow dedicated DRL seems to be the best in my opinion
  • nortsr1nortsr1 Posts: 1,060
    I cannot give you an opinion as to the "low to mid density yellow"; however, my wife drives a 2006 Caddy SRX and I , prior to just purchasing a PT Cruiser, had a Chevrolet Cobalt. Both the SRX and the prior Cobalt came with DRL's. My new PT does not have them.
    Personally, I am in favor of them, and now find myself turning on my parking lights during the daylight hours, when driving. The PT's in Canada have the DRL's, and yet, I have not found any PT forum that can provide any info as to retrofit the Canadian DRL's into the USA models (I know, made in Mexico).
    It seems we are not getting any other 'posters"?
  • dranoeldranoel Posts: 79
    nortsr1, My experience with attempting to discuss the DRL issue with anyone, is most people have no real interest and/or understanding of the subject. The NHTSA has some anecdotal evidence that says DRLs reduce some type of auto and pedestrian accidents, but insufficient hard evidence to mandate DRLs. What type of DRL if any, is most effective? Why has is taken over 10 years and yet no results ? If the DRL is not the answer, let's get rid of it, if it is the answer then mandate it . We kill about 45,000 people a year in auto accidents--is anyone awake ? Now that I've got that out of my system I feel better----
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    I also believe all GM cars now come standard with DRL.

    The trucks do; I long ago stopped counting the number of late-model Colorados and Silverados I see with one of the parking light bulbs burned out.
  • john500john500 Posts: 409
    I agree that some standardization must be done. I believe that the lights should come on automatically at 100 % intensity(front and rear - as would happen if the light switch were used). I'm not sure how effective lights are, however, the absence of headlights has been stated to be the causative factor in countless accidents in the rain, on overcast days and at twilight. Therefore, the oral statement of "I didn't see the car because the lights weren't on." would be a thing of the past for insurance companies to consider (barring malfunction of the light). The rain sensors and optics sensors would be unnecessary if the lights simply came on.

    I've heard some motorcyclists allege that when DRL's are commonplace, a saturation effect occurs rendering them less useful (presumably a new level of driver awareness the dilutes the effectiveness of the lights). I am not in favor of the annoying chop lights or strobe lights (rapid off an on) that motorcyclists use to overcome this alleged saturation effect.
  • nortsr1nortsr1 Posts: 1,060
    I do not know what the law is in other states, but in NJ and Florida, when it is raining,(daylight hours) you must have your headlights on.Of course, I would recommend having them on at night.
  • oldharryoldharry Posts: 413
    I believe DRLs should have some light at the rear. My car has them, and automatic headlights, but on fairly bright rainy days there are no automatic lights in the rear.

    Harry
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    I'm still waiting for when we finally switch taillight colors, so they light up yellow when the car is in motion, but switch to red when the driver hits the brakes... :)
  • Well this is only #11 post since 10/28/06, and I've done 3 of them, I guess there's not much interest in this unadultrated mess of DRLs cause by inaction of the NHTSA--so be it.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    DRL are standard in Canada and other Baltic countries because of the sun and how it shines on countries north of us. having the lights on at all times, makes it easier to see cars during certain times of day when the angle of the sun can blind you. (I read this years ago) While this may be beneficial in the northern US states, it is not so much the case in our southern states which is why I believe the NHTSA has been slow/hesistant to require this feature. GM made the decision to include DRL in all cars as a cost saving/quality control move. Much easier to make this feature standard on all vehicles. some manufacturers have followed suit, most haven't. but if it is important to you, it is easy to search for vehicles that have DRL.

    Personally, I would love to see this feature standard. It is unintrusive and I haven't seen it burn more bulbs (or use more fuel; yes opponents of DRLs claim lower mpg) in any of my cars that have had it. If it has proven to save even one life and it doesn't hurt me or the car, I'll take it. It gets crazy on these roads. Need all the help i can get.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    ...having the parking lights as DRLs. Looks elegant, and much better than the original version.

    I used to own a mid-1990s Chevy Beretta that came standard with DRLs. Problem was they were simply the high-beams illuminated at 50% power. It looked terrible I thought, and I would constantly get people telling me that "my lights were on" (which they were, of course).

    Even worse though was they were coupled to a sensor that automatically turned on the head lights to "normal" when it determined it was dark out. Being a typical GM product, the sensor was overly sensitive, so a cloud going over the sun briefly would result in the DRLs going out and the low beams coming on. :mad:
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    My Olds Intrigue uses the turn signals. I like it except they screwed up the design of the passenger side turn signal. Every few years you need to replace the socket.
  • bryanbryan Posts: 217
    I drive every weekend from Northern VA to the Delaware shore. Headlight usage is mandatory on Route 404, a two-lane highway that runs from Maryland through Delaware.

    I have DRLs on my current GM vehicles. However, my 95 Cutlass convertible did not have DLRs, so I routinely turned on the parking and fog lights. About four years ago I was stopped on Route 404 by the State Police because I did not have the headlights on, and when I said I thought the parking and fog lights would suffice, well, let's say that dog did not hunt!

    However, because all the car's occupants were seat-belted, I got off with a written warning. I think it was really a click it or ticket-type stop, and the "no headlights" was the excuse used to stop me. When I traded that car almost three years ago, it was mandatory the replacement had DLRs, and not the amber parking light type you see on the Caddy SRX and CTS. I bought a Pontiac instead of a Caddy for just that reason!

    I have encountered several state and county police on that road since, and never had another problem. I also can see their safety value. I have not had any headlight bulb burnouts either, so as far as I'm concerned, DLRs are fine.
  • John500, as a motorcyclist, I do not like DRL's. I can attest that drivers are less prone to seeing my lone headlight as more cars come with DRL's. I now ride with my high beam on during daylight hours, and people still miss me, and I'm not a small person, and I ride a 750cc bike. It's the same as when the center stop lamp came out. You noticed the few cars that had them until all the cars had them.
  • Most states require lights on when it is raining. Driving down I95 during a recent downpour, I noticed that very many cars had no tail lights lit. Almost all of them had their front lights "on". I would guess that most of these drivers were unaware of the fact that daytime running lights do not turn on the rear lights. It is difficult enough to see cars ahead in heavy rain even with their rear lights lit. Of course the best answer to the problem is to require that rear lights be lit along with the front lights. Better yet are the rear fog lights found on a very few foreign cars.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    The problem with the rear fog lights is the same problem with front fog lights: the average driver doesn't have a clue when to properly use them.

    On a given clear, dry evening, I see tons of people with all lights ablaze, even no there is no need to have fog lights of any kind illuminated.

    It's really annoying to be blasted with a wall of light from the front, or be behind a vehicle that you're unsure if it's braking...
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    Kellerr touches on something that I hate about some DRL arrangements. I do not like the ones were the headlights only come on, but the tailights do not. Unfortunately my new VW GTI is in this boat. It isn't a problem for me as I'm pretty vigilant about having my lights on (er...all the way on I guess) but I've seen lots of people tooling around in low light situations with only the headlights on. Fog is the worst because there's enough scattered light that they can see their guages, and their headlights are on, but if you come up from behind, you don't see them until the last second because the tailights aren't on.
  • RE DRL. I noted you saisd you've done 3 of them. I assume you've installed the DRL in 3 vehicles? Well, if you have here is my dilemna. I just bought a 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe in the US and I mported it tp Canada where I reside. Why, because I save some U$5000+. In Canada the dealers have no competition. It's almost a cartel where MSRP prices are the rule of the day even if in the US rebate's of $1,000 are offered by the manufacturer via the dealer.
    Anyway, I cannot get any Hyundai dealer to install the required DRL to allow me to register here. Do you know where I can get some help or instruction how to do this and what I need?
    Appreciate hearing from you.
    Joe
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Just wondering -- does the car have to be inspected? If not, I was thinking you could just always turn on your low-beam headlights every time you drive. There's no way to readily tell the difference during the daytime.

    If there is inspection, surely an independent shop could rig up the headlights to come on every time you turn on the car. I'd get recommendations from friends, relatives, or co-workers.
  • stmssstmss Posts: 206
    The rear fog light is the most useful of the fog lights. It is only on one side of the vehicle and shouldn't be confused with a brake light. I agree with front fogs - grossly over used. I am sure most people use them as they think they look cool!

    I live in Canada and DRLs are a great safety feature. But the rear lights not going on is a problem. I am not sure why more manufacturers are not just going with auto lights (front and rear). I have these in my 99Volvo (have not used the light switch for 7 yrs!) my former Saab and even my new Ford.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    No disagreement that fogs can be very useful, in the right circumstances.

    I just hate how very few people...at least in the USA...maybe Canada has better drivers (which frankly, you'd almost have to...I can't imagine any drivers being worse than in the States... ;) ) know when to properly use them.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Around here (central VA), we don't get fog all that often.

    Yet, lots of vehicles run around at night with their front fog lights on -- it's the "look at me" factor.

    One of my cars has fog lights -- I use them VERY rarely. I've found one neat trick though with them -- at night I flick them on and off (instead of the high beams) to let a passing tractor-trailer know it's okay to pull back into the right lane. It works, because some thank me with a quick flick of their taillights.
  • stmssstmss Posts: 206
    I just hate how very few people...at least in the USA...maybe Canada has better drivers (which frankly, you'd almost have to...I can't imagine any drivers being worse than in the States

    I think we are close - not very disciplined and very distracted, just fortunate maybe the volume is less.

    But I think the front fog light fad is fading and now being replaced with a bigger menace - aftermarket bumper or grill driving lights - especially on the pickups and large suvs - blinding on rural two lanes.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    Amen.

    Foggers are no big deal. Assuming they've been installed and aimed correctly, they shouldn't bother anyone coming or going, day or night. The aim is low and the spread wide to give definiton and contrast to the near roadway and periphery. Real ones are amber or rose, and should not only be aimed low, but mounted low.

    Driving lights, OTOH, are meant for downfield viewing and are are aimed high, like extra high-beams. Most are also, BTW, illegal for on-road use.

    Yeah, my low mounted, properly aimed foggers are on. I think they look cool, and to me, I'm right!

    DRLs: I wish every car came with DRLs, whether they're separate low-beams, "demon-eyes" (I like), side markers, whatever. Too many morons are clueless about lighting at dawn and dusk, and need anti-idiot devices. The upgrade I definitely agree on with some here is that the tush should be so lamped as well as the front end.
  • avs007avs007 Posts: 97
    Depends on your jurisdiction about the legality of driving lights on the road. The laws around here say that the restrictions for use of driving lights are the same as those for high-beams.

    With that being said, if you can't turn your brights on becuase of oncoming cars, you can't have your driving lights on either. I hate people that leave them on and blind everybody.

    I wish all DRLs came with auto headlights. I don't know how many people I encounter at night that only have their DRLs on, and not their headlights/tail-lights...

    As far as GM auto-headlights being overly sensitive... You can adjust the sensitivity. At least that's what I did on mine... It's programmable.
  • This might be a duplicate as the other message seemed to disappear.

    I am looking for the legal definition of DTRLs in Ontario.
    One MTO person told me that both front and rear lights must come on during day.
    the other MTO person reading the Highway traffic act said only the front must come on.

    Does anyone know the correct answer.

    thanks
    el
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,252
    I don't see a dupe so your other post probably got stuck on an updating server or something.

    It's hard to tell for sure, but the Transport Canada site seems to talk only about the fronts re daytime running lights. Nothing at all showed up on the official Ontario site for me.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,675
    "...Maybe Canada has better drivers..."

    Them's fightin' words pardner :mad:

    Don't get me started on stories of Canadians and their antics coming down I-87 from Quebec.

    As to DRLs I personally don't like the car to do my thinking for me. But you have a point, some drivers aren't smart enough to turn their lights on even when it's dark, so maybe they are necessary.

    One thing I've noticed is that when, for instance it's raining and 99% of the cars have their lights on, the 1% who don't are almost invisible. If you made DRLs mandatory on all new vehicles you would still have a lot of invisible cars out there causing accidents for years.

    I wonder how did this work out in Canada the first few years after the mandate?

    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

This discussion has been closed.