The Alpine republic is the only country in the world to repeal its law requiring daytime running light. As an automotive lighting specialist, I just could not follow the arguments in favor of this step. Of course, drivers still are allowed to drive with their lights on during the day if they so choose. And, in contrast to Germany, they can also use their fog lamps.
It is forbidden to flash your lights at drivers, warning them of upcoming radar traps (as it is in Germany). So the Greek turn on their low beams instead. Frustrated policemen therefore like to maintain that driving with your lights on during the day is not permitted. And indeed, it was reserved for the military a few decades ago. Today, however, the government has set things straight: special daytime running lights also are permitted in Greece.
Until the early 1990s, people in France drove with yellow headlights. But why? I know of two explanations. One attributes the yellow light to a rally in Monte Carlo on a foggy day. One team wanted to reduce backdazzle from the headlamps by covering them with newspaper. The newspaper reportedly was yellow and visibility improved. And in fact, the rest of the world did drive with yellow fog lamps for a long time.
The other reason relates to Germany: in the event of war, France wanted to be able to distinguish its cars from German ones.
Whatever the reason, since the early 1990s, the French have only been permitted to use yellow lamps in vintage cars. The light they emit was never really popular, because the colored filter swallows up to 20 percent of the output. What’s more, the beneficial effect in fog turned out to be an optical illusion.
The British are holding fast to their tradition of driving on the left. The headlights on cars from continental Europe dazzle drivers, if the asymmetrical beam pattern – designed for right-hand traffic – is not adapted for the other side of the road. To do so, one section frequently must be covered with adhesive film. A few headlamps are built to permit the corresponding adjustments. Another noticeable thing on the roads is the many cars traveling during the day with dimmed headlights.
Please notice: We are going to cover the topic “asymmetrical light distribution and driving on the left” in a more detailed article here on carlightblog.com within the next weeks.