A routine police inspection in Croatia: Driving too fast? No. Forgot your driver’s license or vehicle insurance and registration? No. Forgot your advance warning triangle or first-aid box? No. Spare lamps on board? Come again?
Several European countries – though it is widely unknown – do indeed require drivers to have spare lamps for their car lights on board. Spain, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia require spare lamps for all lighting systems, while Croatia, Slovakia and Russia have made xenon and LED lamps the only exceptions to this law. Violations are associated with heavy fines. France, the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia recommend that drivers have spares at all times. All the other countries, including Germany, have not issued any requirements or recommendations.
A blanket requirement doesn’t really make sense, because so many vehicles today are equipped with LED or xenon systems, and they’re not easy to replace. However, taking along spare lamps is a good idea for halogen systems, because according to Murphy’s Law, a lamp will go out at the worst possible moment. And any defect in a vehicle’s lighting system is a source of danger when driving in the dark or on poorly lit roads.
OSRAM has a simple solution. Instead of buying individual lamps, OSRAM sells a replacement lamp box for cars or motorcycles. It contains one common headlamp (H4, H7 or H1), the five most important signal lamps for the indicator or brake lights, and three blade type fuses. In other words, the box meets all requirements you may encounter in Europe, with all its many laws.
I recently had the pleasure of driving from Northern Italy, through Austria, clear across Germany and all the way to Scandinavia in just two days. In the borderless Schengen Area of Europe, you can easily drive across a national border without evening noticing. But what you will notice right away is that despite Schengen and all the other agreements uniting Europe, the countries have very different regulations governing the use of vehicle lights during the day.
In Italy, daytime running lights are required outside of towns and on highways. And Italians comply with the law without any major exceptions, just as they do with the ban on smoking. But I had hardly crossed the border into Austria when the density of lights decreased. And no wonder: while the same law existed there from 2005 to 2007, it was repealed in 2008, apparently because more light caused more accidents, since pedestrians and cyclists are harder to see. However, it’s not against the law to drive during the day with your low beams on or other, special daytime running lights. And because more and more motor vehicles are being equipped with daytime running lights, and many drivers aren’t inclined to accept the government’s reasoning, you do indeed see numerous cars with their lights on. (more…)