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A plea to drivers (bad weather)

I know the regulars know this, but for others:

  1. Please clean the snow and ice from your car before driving. First of all, that is illegal in some states, and second, you can cause an accident when the ice blows off your roof and hits another vehicle.

  2. When you are driving in bad conditions, such as fog or rain, turn on your headlights.

I was twice hit by chunks of ice this morning. I don’t think it scratched my windshield, but it could have.

And driving through patchy fog, I noticed very few vehicles with headlights on, perhaps only 1 in five. Yes, there were lots of driving lights, but that is not the same thing, as they do not turn on the taillights.



Gotta agree. Not having your lights on in bad weather is also illegal in Minnesota but I have noticed a police car from time to time without its lights on. Also semi trailers are impossible to clear snow and ice off the top and are prime causes of ice and snow blowing off the roof. Not much to do about it except keep your distance.


Hopefully you weren’t driving on 128N this morning…Nice 55 car pileup. I heard the road was pure Ice.

In NH you’re required to clean the snow off the roof of your vehicle also. Although the Majority don’t.

Expecting a big store tomorrow…8-14 inches

That’s what I like about the DRLs (daytime running lights) on four of my cars, all GM products. We never have to turn on lights, day, night, sunny, cloudy, foggy, rainy, whatever.

GM has had them as standard equipment for decades and has tried to get the Feds to make them standard on all cars. It hasn’t happened, yet.

Our DRLs are on in all brightly lit conditions. Whenever conditions turn a bit grayer (heavy clouds, dusk, dawn, nightfall, fog, etcetera) the cars automatically turn on dash lights, taillights, and the headlights go to full power. They work flawlessly, even on the 17 year-old Impala with 300+k miles.

I have an older Dodge Caravan with regular old fashioned lights and I have caught myself forgetting to turn those on when conditions indicate they’d be warranted.

.3. If the weather is terrible stay home, unless you really, really have to go out driving.

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The biggest side effect issue with DRLs seems to be the large number of people who do not turn on their lights even at night thinking they are already on. Almost every single night on the way home from work I encounter a least one or two vehicles with no taillights on the expressway. When you come up alongside, their DRLs are weakly illuminating the road in front and they seem oblivious to the fact none of the other outside lights are on. I’m not talking dusk, it’s dark and they seem to be parting the sea of cars around them as people swerve to avoid these black holes…


“The biggest side effect issue with DRLs seems to be the large number of people who do not turn on their lights even at night thinking they are already on.”

I’m not talking dusk, it’s dark…

Wow, I think there could be more of a problem with these drivers than their DRLs.

If my dash board is dark then I have no taillights illuminated! If I had no taillights illuminated then I’d have a dark dashboard. When it’s dark out I’d notice right away when my dashboard isn’t lit up (and I’m old enough that I mail in my Medicare premium money every quarter!).

That’s my warning sign on my non-DRL equipped cars that I need to turn on lights…

When I no longer notice whether I have dash lights at night then it’s time to put a fork in me, I’m done, and take my license away from me. I think those drivers have some other problems, mechanical or physical. The lighting issue could be just the tip of the iceberg and perhaps an early warning sign for other drivers to heed.

Speaking of Daytime Running Lights-Toyotanation forum has had several people asking how to disable their DRL’s lately. Why would you do that.

Off topic but for amusement is the only reason I go there. That site really gets a lot of dumb questions that are mind boggling.


We have actually had that question on this site a few times, and when the OP was asked…WHY?..the answer was always “to save gas”.

Yeah, I suppose that one might be able to increase their gas mileage by **~.**002 mpg by disabling the DRLs–albeit at the possible expense of a collision due to poor visibility.
But…what the heck…at least that penny-wise/dollar foolish person might actually save ~$3.00 per year on gas.

I think he means the twilight sentinel feature not the DRL. The twilight feature turns the lights on full-tail and dash, in low light conditions. I’ve noticed my Pontiac is far more sensitive to low light levels than my Acura so that is probably why. You can change the sensitivity on the Acura but I still carry a chunk of material to throw over the dash sensor to turn the lights on without having to remember to shut the lights off again when parked.

Many late model vehicles illuminate the instrument cluster when the ignition is on and dim the cluster lighting when the headlights are on. There is a small symbol in the cluster to indicate the headlights are on, people don’t consciously look for that indicator.

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I’ve long advocated that the headlights, taillights, and sidelights should come on automatically whenever the key is in the ON position. I truly believe that would prevent accidents. An override could be provided for unusual situations.


TSM, I agree. I don’t intend to argue one way or another but the claim about not having the rear lights on all the time is that under certain light conditions the brake lights might not be noticed as soon as they should be. But when you read about someone running into the back of a stopped big yellow school bus with it’s flashers on who knows the correct answer.

The biggest reason I could think for disabling DRLs would be to use the high bright or whatever bulbs with a short life expectancy.


“The biggest reason I could think for disabling DRLs would be to use the high bright or whatever bulbs with a short life expectancy.”

My GM cars use high beam bulbs (running at reduced power) for DRLs. It must not hurt them too much. I can go years without need to replace any headlight bulbs on the family fleet.

Slowing down would help too in bad weather. I got a sore knee today b/c the driver behind me the other day tried to make it through a left hand turn signal in rainy weather at high speed. Tather than waiting for the next green, ran the red light & squealed through the turn. I heard the tires squealing and scraping behind me, looked in the mirror and saw them going out of control in a skid on the wet road. The uncertainty of how I should respond as it looks like they may be going to run into my vehicle caused me to bang my knee on the dash. Ouch, sore knee. Their wild honking while in a skid didn’t do anything to help either. As you might expect, no justice. They drove away fine, and I ended up with the sore knee.

@common_sense_answer I was referring to high brightness the bulbs that had pardon my memory 1000 hours, vs whatever for normal bulbs, maybe 5000?

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See, that’s what I don’t like about automatic headlights. There’s “contamination of knowedge” issues when you have to switch back and forth between cars with them and those without. If all you ever drive are cars with auto headlights…fine. If not, I can see how it would cause you to forget to turn your lights on in the car w/o them.


You assume too much. See Nevada’s response. The drivers face is illuminated from the low dash lighting so they dont realize their lights are off. Youd think theyd get the hint when they dont see their lights shining brightly but apparently not that observant.

rated life on “high brightness” bulbs is really low, something like 250-400 hrs, versus 1500-2000 in dimmer “long life” ones (normally put on the factory)