The car is packed, the tires are pumped up and everyone’s on board, all ready to hit the road. But there’s one thing missing from the checklist: the lights. Many holiday destinations prescribe daytime running lights (DLR) and replacement lamps.
It’s not just time for holidays but also time for long lists of car light regulations from other countries. We could now post such a list and also tell you about potential fines. Those who think that reading through all that stuff will make them look forward even more to their holidays will find it in abundance on automobile club sites. Most people are a bit bored by them though, so instead we’ll give you two simple tips on how holidaymakers can avoid problems with lights and their use both in Germany and abroad.
First: keep your lights on at all times. No civilized country prohibits driving with your lights on during the day. Second: always have replacement lamps on board. Osram offers handy assortment boxes.
Those who have a car with standard daytime running lights can disregard point one. But what do drivers of older models do, especially if they worry that they might forget to switch the lights on and off manually? There are also some good tips for that. They range from the simplest and free solution of sticking a Post-it note on your dashboard to upgrading daytime running lights, from Osram’s range for example.
Technical remedies can be found in between. “Modifying” the car to incorporate light circuits for countries where lights are compulsory during the day is a very elegant solution. In these countries all manufacturers supply their vehicles with automatic lights which link dipped beam with the ignition. The appropriate circuit can usually be retrofitted or even better, upgraded. Depending on the car, sometimes a simple change in software is enough, which can be done at a garage. Other cars need a new light switch, and in other cases again a cable has to be reconnected. Additional relays are also an option. Garages should know what to do.
Some drivers absolutely want to decide for themselves when to drive with their lights on. For them retrofitting a lights-on warning buzzer is worth considering. But it only prevents the lights from being left on after you turn off the engine and prevents the battery from going flat. So not exactly first choice for driving to countries where lights are compulsory during the day.
But why are there regulations like these at all? Traffic safety experts are convinced that daytime running lights effectively reduce the number of accidents, injuries and deaths. There’s even statistical evidence for that. In Denmark for example, the number of accidents resulting from turning left went down by 30 percent after lights became compulsory.