CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

DLR, why not there?

It seems in the last few years every make and model of cars comes with day time running lights. But they only illuminate the front of the vehicle. Why they are not on in the back? I have seen many times when it is getting darker outside people jump in their cars and start driving without headlights. It is light enough that they do not realize the lights they have on are only dlrs for the front. Many cars do not have a different indicator on the dash for headlights. The same lights up with the dlr and the regular headlights as well. So would not be better to mark the indicators, and the same time make sure that the backsides of vehicles are lighted up as well?

Man , I would love to see the rear illuminated too.
Countless times I’ve encountered a too dark vehicle, dangerously dark in the back, that had the headlights on. Must just be the DRL :frowning:
If any lights are on …all the lights should be on.

My 08 Expedition has the automatic light feature which I have switched on at all times. this illuminates the rear bulbs too. But most drivers don’t even know what their car does or doesn’t do.

When they invented those things…in a hurry to satisfy the cry babies…they didn’t think it completely through to how joe driver would end up using them .

The only solution,
for those few of us who know about the lack of rear lamps,
is to just turn on your head lamp switch rather than rely on DRLs.

Ken…you are 100% right. I saw a relative leave church the other night (different direction) with no tail lights. We called her when we got home and she had no clue that the tail lights were not illuminated when the DRL lights were on. She is now…hopefully…not depending on the DRL system for her driving lights. I checked her lights the next day and they were all working including the tail lights.

I totaly agree. People driving in fog or snow thinking their lights are on and you can’t see them at all. Even the wife quentioned why I was turning the lights to on from automatic and I had to explain that the tail lights weren’t on. Oh. I understand the reasoning of the DLR lights after that single add on light 40 years ago, but not including the tail lights is a mistake.

I’ve long been of the belief that the headlights, taillights, and marker lights shoudl all go on whenever the engine is running. Having a special light that just goes on in the front when there’s already a whole lighting system available is rediculous if the purpose is to improve visability and prevent accidents. The decision MUST have been made by a committee. A committee continues compromising until it finds the lowest possible solution, the lowest common denominator, one acceptable to even those who disagree with the idea.

In my GM vehicle, if DRLs are “on” the dash is not lit. When the body controller changes to the auto setting all lights come on outside and the dash lights come on giving me feedback all lights are on outside. Now if the optical sensor on the dash fails to detect the “right” lighting condition I could see the DRLs being on at night by themselves with no other lighting but I would assume the dash not being lit might clue me in.

Now doesn’t it seem like it would be a lot simpler if all the lights just came on whenever the key was in the “ON” position?

I’ve seen some higher end vehicles using LEDs for DRLs, so it shouldn’t be that much longer before the Civics and Fiestas have them.

Let us also not forget that lots and lots of GM trucks seem to only have 1 working DRL on at any given moment; usually the driver’s side is out, I believe.

I guess you guys are on the same page about this with me…
@ t. Of course it would have been. I am just amazed by the person who came up with the idea of dlr and hooked it up front and called it a day… Did you walk around the car and did not noticed that the backside is dark???
@ b. If does not even have to be a led. Just hook it up to your marker lights so they light up with the front simultaneously…
Again just z lack of common sense…

The research supporting them came from Sweden, where they have mainly two-lane roads. It’s a place where the sun is often low and visibility poor. They wanted to reduce head-on collisions, and it apparently worked, so a few years later we took their lead. Maybe we should get the Swedes to study taillights to reduce tail-on collisions.

The last Chevy I owned had DRL. With DLR only the headlights were on. It also had auto “ON” lights which came on at dusk, including the taillights. So all bases were pretty well covered, I think.
A friend of ours a few years ago was driving in a funeral procession with the DLR on and was angry because people , who were not in the procession, were passing her.

Speaking of lights.

3rd or high mount brake lamps do not reduce accidents like the feds thought they would. But they are law that they are part of our vehicles. I don’t mind them but they do not do what they are supposed to do.

What I believe is backwards is that semi trailers are not required to have high mount stop lamps. The taillamps/brake lamps on your typical trailer are very small and often are difficult to see. So why not have high mount brake lamps mounted half way up the lt/rt vertical posts on the rear of trailers?
Just something I’ve been pondering.

I’ve noticed large vehicles, like really big pickups, motorhomes, and commercial trucks have amber DRLs instead of clear. Maybe the answer is to make the DRLs on cars amber too so the drivers will be more likely to turn on their headlights at night.

@meaneyedcatz,

Semis and other heavy trucks aren’t required to have a third brake light because the average stopping distance of even a deadheading (empty) truck is much longer than the average car. Any driver that rear-ends a semi, loaded or empty, is too unaware of what’s going on to be behind the wheel. Even if a loaded semi had no brake lights, IMHO, there is no excuse for rear-ending one, although I am pretty sure the law wouldn’t see it that way. Also, third brake lights are not required on any trailers, commercial or otherwise, probably for the same reason.

Incidently, my motorhome didn’t come with a third brake light, so I added one on the trailer hitch.

@meaneyedcatz,

Yes, third brake lights didn’t have the same effectiveness we thought they would when they were mandated, but they still save money. Check this out:

In 1974, psychologist John Voevodsky tested a small, inexpensive gadget that would eventually make U.S. highways much safer. The gadget was a third brake light, mounted in the base of rear windshields so that when drivers pressed their brakes, a triangle of light warned following drivers to slow down. To test whether such a small addition would make a significant difference, Voevodsky equipped 343 San Francisco taxicabs with the third brake light and left 160 taxis with no additional light as a control group. Taxi dispatchers then randomly assigned taxi drivers to taxis with or without the third light, regardless of drivers' expressed preferences. At the end of a 10-month experiment, taxis with a third brake light had suffered 60.6% fewer rear-end collisions than had the control-group taxis. Additionally, drivers of taxis with the third brake light that were struck in the rear by other vehicles were injured 61.1% less often than were drivers of taxis without the light, and repairs to all taxis with the light cost 61.8% less than did repairs to taxis without the light....

To see just how well the CHMSLs worked, the NHTSA has charted police-reported crash data from eight states, and has found that CHMSLs reduce rear impacts by 4.3%. Although less dramatic than the original findings, this finding means that since the CHMSL became standard equipment, there have been about 200,000 fewer crashes, 60,000 fewer injuries, and over $600 million in property damage saved every year - not to mention the lives saved. To put that in dollars and cents: for every dollar spent on manufacturing and installing the third brake light, $3.18 is saved.*

Anybody remember the third brake lights on a 48 or 49 Plymouth trunk lid. It was mounted on the trunk handle. My neighbor had one. Not such a new idea. Maybe that was the only brake light rather than the third one come to think of it. Just can’t remember for sure, but it was gray.

@Bing
Oldsmobiles of the (I believe early 50’s) had third brake lights in the deck lid also and like the PLY I beleive it was mounted in the handle. The OLDS lamp was round and had elevations and reliefs molded in like a planet, keeping in the space/planet/ rocket theme.

@whitey
Everything in your first post…yeah, thats what I’m talking about.

When you let Micky Mouse into the automotive design room, you end up with problems like this…

Another oddity, to me at least, is the bright amber turn signals on the rear lamps.
The BRAKE light should be the brightest lamp of the bunch…
NOT the turn signal !

Mine has red turn signals. Personally, I think they should all be amber.

But that isn.t my biggest beef in automotive lighting design. I’ve seen way too many designs wherein the front turn signal is incorporated into the light module in such close proximity to the headlight that when the headlight is on it overwhelms the directional, making it impossible to see.

That’s a good one too , moutainbike, about the headlamp and turnsignal washing out together.
I also think every vehicle should have the flank/side turn signal that many have. Either in the mirror or on the fender, I’ve added some on because of the need I see.