When should we turn on the car’s lights? Car lights are one of the main safety systems of the car and even so many drivers do not use it correctly. To make matters worse, modern systems such as daytime running lights or the automatic lighting device are causing some situations of risk that you should know. Here we give you the keys to make the correct use of the lights.
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Oddly enough, Spanish drivers still do not know how to properly use the lighting of the car. When we drive for a long time we can’t stop being surprised by the number of vehicles that circulate with the lights off in the middle of the fog during the day, drivers blinding me with the rear fog lamp lit by the night with a light rain.
To top it off, systems that are incorporated to improve safety, such as daytime running lights or the automatic ignition device of the headlights, are causing new situations of risk.
To understand a little better all these problems, let’s see what they are and what they serve different lighting in our car:
- Position light: currently, this light only serves to signal the vehicle when it is parked on a poorly lit road. It is not possible to circulate only with it lit during the night, not even in the city, nor in the tunnels.
- Daytime running lights: they must be switched on whenever the car is in motion unless we turn on the main lighting of the car. What drivers do not know is that, to save energy and consumption, on most models the daytime running lights do not turn on the rear position lights. We are visible from the front, but not from behind.
- Light of crossing or short: its use is obligatory according to the regulation from the dusk until the dawn, as well as in the tunnels, but also when the conditions of visibility are reduced.
- Road light or long range: its use is only allowed when we do not cause glare to other drivers and always outside the urban area.
- Front fog light: its installation is not mandatory, so its use cannot be, although it is recommended in certain circumstances. Contrary to what most people think, its use is allowed even if there are no special visibility conditions; we can turn them on at night on a curving road even if there is no fog, but they should always be put in combination with the dipped beam.
- Rear fog light: its installation is mandatory and its use is very restricted, especially at night. Most drivers turn it on to the minimum, which is very annoying and increases the risk of being hit from behind, as it makes the brake lights look bad. They can only be turned on in conditions of very low visibility: very thick fog, torrential rain, etc.
With the daytime running lights, drivers see some glare in front of the car and believe they have the dipped beam headlights on when it is not. As I said before, most manufacturers do not turn on the taillights with the DRL (Day Running Light), so with the daytime running lights we are invisible to those who come behind us in the tunnels and at night.
The systems of automatic ignition of lights are based on the clarity of the day and have a certain delay. Entering the tunnels takes several meters to light (here is a story on how to drive in the tunnels), which is dangerous, but it is even more so when the lights do not turn on the days of fog, rain, etc. There may be clarity but no visibility. A foggy day is a clear example. The car will not turn on the lights automatically, but we are invisible to the rest of the traffic if we do not turn them on. Also, with rain we must light them. Some cars already incorporate a system that turns on dipped beam lights in combination with the rain sensor, but for now they are few.
Golden rules to use the lighting well
When to turn on the car’s lights.
1.- If you see the shadow of your own car, turn on the dipped beam. In effect, if we see our own shadow, it is because the sun gives us back. This means that it dazzles those who come from the front and also if we look in the rear-view mirror. To make us look good, it is essential to turn on the lights.
2.- If you lower the sunshade, turn on the lights: if the sun bothers you, it is because it goes low and its direct light enters through the windshield or the side windows. In these conditions the same thing happens as in the previous example.
3.- If you enter a tunnel, turn on the lights: its use is mandatory and, in addition, they remind you with a mandatory signal at the entrance and a reminder of shutdown when leaving the tunnel.
4.- If it rains, turn on the lights: rain reduces visibility for three reasons: it usually happens on cloudy days, which reduces light, wet windscreens worsen vision and the raindrops themselves reduce vision. Always turn on the lights when it rains. If the rain is very strong, turn on the front fog lights and, for the day, the rear one. At night, turn on the rear fog light only if it rains torrentially and turn it off as soon as you have a car behind you nearby.
5.- If there is fog, turn on the lights: whenever there is fog, turn on the dipped beam. The rear fog light can be turned on during the day even if the fog is not very thick. At night you should only use the rear fog light with very dense fog and it is better to turn it off as soon as we have a car close behind.
6.- Turn off the rear fog light: the rear fog lamp lights independently from the front. Read the manual of your car and learn how to turn on the front fog lamp (which, if properly adjusted, does not dazzle) whose use is allowed in more conditions than the rear one. The rear fog light dazzles a lot at night and, in addition, makes it much longer for us to react when we brake, because the brake lights stand out less. You should only use them when visibility conditions are minimal and should be turned off if someone is already close to us and you see us with the rear position lights,
Keep in mind that here at JB Prestige Euro Automotive Service we take pride in providing the best services for European cars in our area.