These days, you might notice cars that seem to have left their headlamps lit even in broad daylight. No, this isn’t a new trend in operating your headlights. Before you go and turn your parking light on just like the rest, let me introduce you to daytime running lights (DRLs).
DRLs are a type of car lighting that automatically turns on as you start your engine. This technology isn't new, as DRLs have been globally available for decades. We’ll not try and give you the exact history but Finland has been recorded to have mandated the usage of DRLs during the winter of 1972.
Aside from giving you added pogi points, DRLs increase your car’s prominence on the road. They make drivers of oncoming vehicles see you more, especially during inclement weather conditions, which in turn increase road safety.
Over the years, studies have revealed that DRLs reduced the number of daytime accidents. In a report by the Australian motoring organization National Roads and Motorists' Association (NRMA), the greatest effect of DRLs were in reducing severe accidents such as head-on and intersection crashes, as well as incidents with bicycles and pedestrians.
In addition, it’s concluded that DRLs prevented 25% of fatal multi-vehicle daytime accidents, while 28% of fatal pedestrian accidents were also mitigated by the said technology.
Why not use clearance/parking light instead?
With these mentioned, you might think, why not use low beam headlights or your clearance/parking light instead? Well, here’s why.
Headlamps are designed to illuminate the road to avoid glare against oncoming vehicles. It means they are pointed towards the road and don’t work the same as DRLs, whether you’re on clearance or low beam lights. And don’t get us started on high-beam headlamps; we all know that it’s annoying to keep your headlights on high beam all the time. So, this means you’re wasting energy if you use your regular headlamps during daytime.
To add insult to the injury, NRMA also found out that headlamps increase fuel consumption by 4.6%, as compared to the 0.15% increase brought about by DRLs. Plus, DRLs these days use LEDs, which consume less energy.