The wait is nearly over. The holidays are upon us, cars are packed ready for the off, and the media is publishing long tables of countries where lights are compulsory during the day, along with information on penalties in case of non-compliance. But we don’t want to spoil your holiday thoughts with dull information on fines. Much better than long-winded explanations on countries, or even streets and times, is this simple tip: keep your lights on at all times, it’ll save you lots of hassle and discussions with the police. And on top of that it’s safe …
Obviously this is not so easy when it comes to older cars; new ones, on the other hand, have automatic lights as standard in Europe. It’s easy to forget to switch lights on before driving off in older cars, and leaving them on after reaching your destination is not so good either. So what can you do? We have six solutions on hand which cost between zero and a few hundred euros, or dollars respectively. .
A post-it note on the dashboard saying “lights” is as good as free.
Universal retrofit kits for daytime running lights are a more technical option. They consist of a relay, a few cables, and installation instructions which are usually not terribly helpful for your own car – well universal, the clue is in the word. These kits cost between 10 and 20 euros and make sure the lights come on automatically when the ignition is turned.
Stock daytime running light solutions from car manufacturers which were fitted for Scandinavian countries are very neat. Since Finns and Swedes have been driving with their lights on for more than 40 years, these solutions are also available for most older models. Sadly car dealers often don’t know about them. Depending on the model, these kits consist of light switches, relays, or a small cable harness. For some Scandinavian makes you may even be able to switch to automatic lights using a small screwdriver at the light switch. This method is free, whereas the original kit is between 50 and 100 euros.
Adding daytime running lights via software, which is often an option for models from around the start of the new millennium, is a modern solution. In this case, a garage will flash the lighting function for the appropriate countries. The software might also cost a few euros.
Some retrofitted daytime running lights are stylish. Almost all of them now run on LEDs. The choice is huge, but the differences in quality are too. Often their resistance to water and other ghastly things leaves something to be desired. Retrofit kits from large manufacturers of car light components should be your first choice. For instance, daytime running lights from Osram provide a high level of protection against environmental influences – and perfect light of course. You can get good retrofit lights from 80 euros.
The combination of daytime running lights and fog lights is convenient. If your car doesn’t have special lights for thick fog yet, the LEDriving fog set from Osram will kill two birds with one stone. Costs: 299 euros (RRP incl. VAT).