Let There Be Light

Nighttime Headlights

Now that the days are getting shorter and apparently rainier, motorists need to be reminded about the need to switch from daytime running lights (DRL’s) to regular headlights when encountering dark and/or inclement conditions. Daytime running lights (DRLs) are low-intensity headlights that are lit whenever a vehicle is running (Headlight Topics- IIHS.org). Though DRL’s provide many benefits such as making it easier to see a car faster than a car without their DRL’s activated thus providing a driver with a few more seconds of perception time to react to a hazard, they do not provide the benefit of your vehicle taillights being illuminated (Daytime Running Lights- Some Things you Should Know- baautocare.com).
Although State requirements about headlight use vary in exact wording, i.e.- headlights must be used from sunset to sunrise, when visibility is less than 500 feet or 1000 feet in some cases, now in many States headlights must also be turned on when windshield wipers are in use (AAA Digest of Motor Laws). Because DRLs provide a degree of forward lighting, many motorists fail to turn on their standard lights in low-light, low-visibility situations. This means the rear lights of certain vehicles are not illuminated (National Motorist Association). In these dark and/or adverse condition scenarios, the taillights of your vehicle are typically not illuminated unless the headlight switch is activated (No Back Lights at Night? Blame Daytime Running Lights-advanceddrivers.com). Continue reading “Let There Be Light”

Automatic Headlight Technology


R. Scott King, BSME, Automotive/Mechanical Engineer ::::
Automatic headlight technology is by no means “new technology”; however, this technology was a primary factor in a recent jury verdict.
The case resulted from a two-vehicle intersectional collision. The collision occurred when a left-turning vehicle crossed into the path of a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction. Injuries and vehicle damage required police assistance which, in turn, resulted in witness interviews. Statements by the vehicle operators conflicted as they related to the headlight status of the on-coming vehicle. Specifically, the operator of the left-turning vehicle reported not seeing the on-coming vehicle because its headlights were not active. The operator of the on-coming vehicle stated, and later testified, that it was his practice to leave the headlight switch in the “Auto” position, and therefore his headlights were illuminated.
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Industry Update: Most small SUV headlights rate poor in IIHS evaluations

SUV Headlights

ARLINGTON, Va. — Not a single small SUV out of 21 tested earns a good rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s headlight evaluations, and only four are available with acceptable-rated headlights.
Among the 21 vehicles, there are 47 different headlight combinations available. More than two-thirds of them are rated poor, making this group of vehicles even more deficient when it comes to lighting than the midsize cars that were the first to be rated earlier this year. Continue reading “Industry Update: Most small SUV headlights rate poor in IIHS evaluations”