Some people only notice after crossing the border when the sign with the basic traffic rules includes a headlight symbol or something similar. Other people look for information on the internet before they set off, for example on this page. But in the end it’s much easier than you think: always drive with your lights on; that saves you from even having to think about it and spoiling your holiday.

But how do drivers who are not yet blessed with daytime running lights or automatic lights put such good intentions into practice? Drivers of old models will probably fear they could possibly forget to turn them on and off manually. That gets stress levels up again. I have some good tips for you. They range from the simplest and free solution of sticking a Post-it note on your dashboard and help from fellow drivers – which may not always be very reliable, mind you – to upgrading daytime running lights, from Osram’s range for example.

In between there are other technical solutions.

  • One example is “modifying” the car to incorporate light circuits for countries where lights are compulsory during the day. 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 ensures that you don’t forget to switch off the lights after you turn off the engine and open the driver’s door – which would lead to a flat battery. There’s no acoustic reminder when you drive off, so not exactly first choice for driving to countries where lights are compulsory during the day.

By the way, parking lights alone don’t count as complying with lighting rules. The question is what could happen if you don’t comply. There are also a lot of websites specifying how high fines could potentially be. But you have to be borderline masochistic if you read those. If you want your journey and your holiday to be relaxing the answer is plain and simple: switch your lights on!

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