Daytime Running Lamps

Another car safety device that has minimized incidents of vehicle crashes during the day is the Daytime Running Lamps (DRL). They are found on the front of a vehicle. They are installed in pairs and emit white, yellow, or amber light for more conspicuity during daylight conditions.

How do DRL work?

DRLs automatically light during engine start-up. They increase the visibility of moving vehicles for other road users. Comparing them to dipped-beam headlights, DRL consume less energy. Many countries strictly implement DRL as an important safety feature in a car.

The first car to run with lights on while running the engine the Volvo 240. Then in mid-1980’s, dim-dipped lighting for driving in urban areas at night were developed. Later on Volvo and other vehicles adopted the dim-dip switched on headlights but with reduced brightness.

DRLs as important car safety device

There are many advantages in using Daytime Running Lamps or DRL:

  • Enhance visibility during daytime
  • Less energy-consumption even with low beam switched on
  • Increases reaction time because vehicles are easily detected by other road users
  • More safe than low beams
  • Long service life of 15000 hours or more

DRL reduce daytime car crashes

Since 1970, many studies have been made to conclude that indeed safety improved with daytime running lights in vehicles.

In Scandinavian countries where it’s always dark during winter time,  DRL was first mandated.

In many dark Nordic countries, it was observed that the benefits are tripled than those in bright countries like the USA.

In Norway, with the DRL law from 1980 to 1990, a study found a ten percent reduction in daytime multiple car crashes.

Canadian and European road safety laws require vehicles to drive with lights on during the day. Vehicles in Canada are required to employ DRLs after December 1, 1989. Effective last February 2011, DLRs for new cars were required by the European Unions and on August 2012, the EU also mandated that new trucks and buses use DRLs.

In the US, no state has been known to mandate DRL but drivers are required to drive with lights on during bad weather.

Daytime Running Lamps or DRL are standard on all General Motors, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Saab, Subaru, Suzuki, Volkswagen and Volvo models since 1995.