One day, one of my students knocked on the door and came into my office to ask, “Professor, in these past issues of car magazines, many new cars are equipped with very bright daytime running lights. Each of them has a unique design, which makes the car look even chicer. But what exactly do daytime running lights do? And I was told as of next year, MOTC will enforce a new law in gradual stages asking all motorists to turn on their vehicles’ daytime running lights or head lights during the daytime in order to get on the road. Is this real?” As an instructor of the traffic engineering class, I responded right away, “You’ve come to the right place. Let’s google the answers!”
The first question, what are daytime running lights?
They are a lighting device to make automobiles visible when the headlights are not turned on during the daytime. Of course it works the same way in the evening to let drivers see each other. Daytime running lights switch on automatically when the ignition is turned on and dim or switch off when the headlights are on (manually or by sensor).
The second question, what are the functions and advantages of daytime running lights?
They are not used to light up the road for drivers to see clearly. Instead, they help cars be more easily spotted on the road by all other road users. The speed of light is much faster than that of a car or a person. As a result, lights emitted from a car help other drivers notice the moving car from a distance. They are especially useful if drivers have to take early urgent measures at road curves. Moreover, daylight running lights on a car also serve to warn other cars of the oncoming traffic and behind about the safe distance to overtake it or pass it by. Lastly, these lights catch drivers’ attention, particularly tired drivers, to effectively decrease the number of car accidents. Advantages of using daylight running lights include:
- They are energy efficient because most of them are LED lights and they do not have to be so bright so that roads can be lighted up. They only serve to make cars more visible.
- They switch on automatically as the engine starts. People do not have to worry about forgetting to turn it on.
- Pedestrians, cyclists, and scooters can easily notice cars in motion.
- They are warning lights when the visibility is low on a cloudy or rainy day.
The third question, why is it required to install daytime running lights?
According to statistics, using daytime running lights is able to decrease the number of car accidents by 5.9% and casualties. Results of a German study indicate that using them will be able to effectively decrease the number of accidents that cause deaths by 25% and prevent 35% of collisions from happening. Who does not want to go out happily and come home safe?
And then, the student said excitedly, “The other day, I saw some new scooters with daytime running lights on the front panels. Compared to those tawdry lights installed on other scooters, the daytime running lights’ elegant design attracted me so much more. These shiny LED lights were sparkling like crystals from Swarovski. Now I really want to install daytime running lights myself. After your explanation, I understand turning on head lights is like fastening the seatbelt, both of which are enforced to ensure drivers’ and passengers’ safety. I am so going to install daytime running lights on my scooter. They are cool, chic, and safe. How wonderful!”
Right after finishing his words, this dear student started to talk with his friend enthusiastically about what kind of daytime running lights he wanted to get and left my office cheerily.
I sighed in pleasure and thought, “So nice that words from an old professor like me are taken seriously! Use daytime running lights and light up your happy life.”