Daytime Running Lights

My wife turns off the DRL’s while driving because she doesn’t feel the glare to other drivers is appropriate. On the Volvo, the only way to turn off the DRL’s is to turn on the front and rear marker lights. The marker lights do not have an auto shut-off function and those lights stay on over night regularly. I have tried to talk about the safety benefits of the DRL’s and the fact that she is turning off 2 low power lights and turning on 4 lights instead, then leaving them on over night. How can I convince her to leave the running lights on? Thanks!

Over the years, beginning in the '60s, there have been numerous studies indicating a dramatic reduction in collisions involving cars that used their headlights during the day. No similar accident reduction has been observed with the use of parking lights/marker lights.

The reason for this advantage is that drivers of other cars are better able to judge how far away your car is when headlights are used, as opposed to when no lights are used. The result is far fewer people turning directly in front of your car, far fewer people pulling out into traffic in front of your car, etc.

Additionally, when driving in situations of alternating bright sun and deep shade (as when driving through forested areas), cars with headlights are visible to drivers whose eyes are attempting to adjust to the wide variance in brightness. Cars without headlights can be–literally–invisible to oncoming drivers in a situation like this.

Thanks for the reply. What can I do to successfully convince my wife to leave the running lights on?

During the day, there is no ‘glare’ from DLRs, it’s so bright out anyway. So she shouldn’t worry about that, instead she should be both safer and less likely to be stranded with dead battery by leaving the DLRs on.

What glare? During the daytime there’s no glare, car headlights don’t bother anybody. I believe it’s a law in Sweden and Canada that cars must have DRLs on.

Glare and distraction to other drivers have been mentioned, as well as waste of energy.

It’s supposed to attract attention, that’s the point. And who has mentioned glare? I’ve never noticed it.

Well, truthfully, some older Saturn models do have excessive glare from their DRLs.
I have to assume that they were not designed to run the high beams on reduced voltage as DRLs, or…?

With the exception of some poorly-designed Saturns, there is normally no glare from DRLs.
The OP’s wife is wrong, wrong, wrong.

The DRLs use virtually no energy, not going to affect mileage.

What can I do to successfully convince my wife…

Boy, there’s an age old question. Mostly unanswerable I’m afraid.

Expect a shortened battery life from leaving the lights on overnight.

Daytime running lights, by definition, are meant to STAY ON whenever the car is used. In many jurisdictions, including all of Canada, all cars (and motorcycles) have their running lights on all the time, and moving the switch to HL gets the whole set, incuding the tail lights, on.

If you mean parking lights, those are too feeble in the daytime to affect safety to any significant extent.

I was talking about the parking lights being left on overnight with the engine off.
Sorry I wasn’t clear about that.

The Lights Can’t Be The Only Thing That Leaves You At Loggerheads. No Offense, But Your Wife Is Stubborn And Unreasonable. You Won’t Convince Her Of Anything.

Maybe you’ve given poor advice in the past. Maybe the problem is you.

This isn’t a DRL problem and probably not even a car problem. It’s more a Dr. Laura thing.


CSA makes some good points, as he usually does.

I have observed that some argumentative people will automatically take an opposite opinion, even when all available evidence indicates that they are wrong. Mr. Kirkpatrick–Could this possibly describe your wife?

My interpretation (as a certified counselor) is that, in many cases, these people feel intellectually inferior to the person whom they are attempting to contradict. They frequently hear authoritative information from that other person, and they resent that person’s knowledge on some unconscious level.

Rather than trying to forge some new ground intellectually, these doubting Thomases simply develop a knee-jerk reaction and automatically say that they believe the opposite. In other words, an unspoken…“Oh yeah? You’re not so smart, this is what I think”.

We have 2 vehicles, a Chevy Silverado and an Acura MDX. Unlike the Chevy, the Acura does not have DRLs, and you need to manually turn on the headlights if you want to be easily seen by other drivers. I have noticed other MDXs (and many other cars) that are very difficult to see in early morning or twilight conditions.
Seems like DRLs should be required on all vehicles…

Over the years, beginning in the '60s, there have been numerous studies indicating a dramatic reduction in collisions involving cars that used their headlights during the day. No similar accident reduction has been observed with the use of parking lights/marker lights.

I remember in the mid 1960’s there were daytime running light kits that were sold. What looked like a truck clearance light with a white lens was mounted in the center of the grille and then wired to the ignition system of the car. These kits were promoted by several safety organizations. These single daytime running lights were popular for about a year then disappeared from the scene.

Yes, I remember the Greyhound Bus Company in the 50s did a trial and found their busses with the lights on had 50% fewer accidents! That set their policy long before governments got in on the act.

If your wife drives the car frequently without you in it, then let her run her battery down and ask for a jump everytime she needs one. If she complains about her constantly dead battery, tell her to check and see if she left the headlights on or something(be nice about it, no sarcasm) when she needs jumped. After a time or three of this happening, then she might remember to turn them off when she turns the car off.
Which also begs the question, doesn’t the car have an alarm of some sorts when you open the door with the lights on it’ll sound some kinda chime?

YOU can’t change her mind, she’ll have to.
Perhaps with my story.
Until my 08 Expedition, I’ve never had DRLs. 06 Escape, 92 Explorer, 79 chevy p/u, no DRL.

We make mutiple trips to Albuquerque and back ( 140 miles one way ) on I-40 and I’ve been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that visibilty in traffic going the same direction in multiple lanes is greatly affected with lights ON.

So much so that I make it a point to always turn on the main headlights when heading out on the interstate.

The Explorer was black against a backdrop of black pavement in anyone’s mirror and they would OFTEN switch lanes, cutting me off, and miss me by mere feet.
With headlights on this doesn’t happen.

So, tell her , if she didn’t have DRL she should be turning ON the headlights as I have leaned is greatly benneficial.

Like Ken, I too always have my headlights turned to on regardlessof the time of day or the weather. I’ve been doing this for years. I read years ago that studies conducted in one coutry where this (or DRLs) is required showed a very dramatic reduction in accidents. If memory serves, ot was a Nordic country, perhaps Sweeden.

Some cars use their high beams for DRLs. Some at reduced voltage. The problem with that is that high beams are aimed higher than regular headlights, and even at reduced voltage they can be glaring…at least to those of us with low seating positions in our cars.

My suggestion to her is that she learn to turn her headlights on whenever driving. That’ll replace the DRLs with headlights, which are better aimed to prevent the glare, and still provide the added visibility that contributes to preventing accidents. And, since headlights are more obvious than parking lights, perhaps she’ll better remember to turn them off.