The simple modification that could drop daytime accidents by 25%

Daytime Running Lights should be compulsory on all vehicles, says the car review website

Cars with Daytime Running Lights on are up to 25% less likely to end up in fatal daytime collisions, editor Clive Matthew-Wilson – who is an active road safety campaigner – says:

“The science is absolutely clear: if other motorists can see you, they can avoid colliding with you.”

In Europe, all new vehicles are required to be fitted with daytime running lights.

“Daytime running lights are available for a few dollars online. They can be easily installed by the average DIYer, or professionally installed at a reasonable cost. So why hasn’t the government made them compulsory?”

 According to an Australian study on the effectiveness of daytime running lights in improving road safety, the potential savings are:

·      25% of daytime multi-vehicle fatal accidents (11% of all non-pedestrian fatal accidents)

·      28% of daytime fatal pedestrian accidents (12% of all fatal pedestrian accidents)

·      20% of daytime multi-vehicle injury accidents

·      12% of daytime multi-vehicle property accidents. 

Other studies have shown fewer safety benefits, but virtually all studies have shown a significant drop in both accidents and fatalities where headlights or daytime running lights were used during daylight hours.

Matthew-Wilson says it’s easy to wire up DRLs so that the vehicle’s taillights come on automatically at the same time.  When a vehicle has automatic lights at the front and rear, these help prevent nighttime accidents as well.

“Many drivers forget to turn their lights on at dusk, in poor light, or in heavy rain. If all drivers have lights on the front and rear at all times, many accidents can be prevented, both night and day[1].” 

Unlike spotlights and fog lights, which often dazzle other drivers, daytime running lights are designed solely to be noticed. Thanks to LED technology, daytime running lights now use less electricity than some car stereos.

Daytime running lights normally turn on automatically when the engine is switched on. They turn off automatically when the engine is switched off or the headlamps are switched on.  

Daytime running lights are now fitted to many new cars, but can be retrofitted to virtually any vehicle.

Matthew-Wilson adds:

“You can’t control the other drivers on the road. By having lights on during the day, you can make sure other drivers see you before a collision takes place.”

Disclosure of interest: nil