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You & Your Car

The hazard of Daytime Running Lights at night Add to ...

What is the best way (is there any way?) to notify a driver who is driving after dark with only his Daytime Running Lights illuminating the road ahead and no taillights – a hazard to himself and to me? If I flick my own headlamps off/on behind them, they don’t pick up my signal because of my own DRLs. Pulling in ahead and flicking my tail lights off/on hasn’t worked on the occasions when I am able to assess the effect. – Ren

This is a problem because of lax regulation. Until the federal regulations requiring DRLs are tightened up, manufacturers will take the easiest way out – i.e., the cheapest.

Compounding the problem is the fact they are not required south of the border. Until Americans are required to have the proven safety advantages of DRLs, we will get them as an afterthought.

Vehicles produced for the North American market, the vast majority of them in plants situated in Canada and the United States, do not have Daytime Running Lights incorporated from the design and development stage.

This important safety feature is added after the fact in vehicles destined for Canada by tapping into the instrument panel wiring. The result, as you point out, is a vehicle that has some light coming from the front and the instrument panel at all times. The driver sees this glow from the front and dash in the dark and assumes the head and tail lights are on, which they are not.

This is a favourite gripe of mine – a regulation meant to provide additional safety that is so poorly worded it results in increased danger.

But I really do not have an answer to how to alert drivers that all their lights aren’t on. I’ve tried what you have with an equally frustrating lack of success. Perhaps if more of us do it, more often, it will become widespread enough that word will get out. In the meantime, dash off a note to your federal member of Parliament telling him how he can save lives.

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