Survey finds drivers in the UK could be relying too much on daytime running lights


According to a new survey conducted by an RAC Opinion Panel, drivers in the UK could be relying too much on their vehicle’s daytime running lights in poor conditions, leaving the rear without any lights on.

A total of 2,061 motorists took part in the survey and 62% of them said they’d noticed other cars and vans on the road driving without any rear lights on in dull, overcast conditions but saw that they’d got the lights on at the front. A further 15% said they’d not noticed this, whilst 23% were unsure.

The results suggest that drivers in the UK are confused when it comes to daytime running lights (DRLs) and what the legal requirements are with regard to them being fitted on a vehicle.

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Drivers in the UK left confused with vehicle daytime running lights

Since 2011, all new EU cars and small vans by law have to be fitted with DRLs and whilst some manufacturers also include them at the rear, it isn’t a mandatory requirement.

When those taking part in the survey were asked if the vehicle they drive the most has DRLs, 47% said it didn’t, 29% said only at the front and 14% said it had them at both the front and rear.

Furthermore, 8% said they knew their vehicle had DRLs at the front but weren’t so sure if the rear had them too.

“This is potentially a very worrying finding as it implies that many motorists are driving without any rear lights believing that because they have running lights that switch on automatically at the front, they are also on at the rear,” said RAC road safety spokesperson Pete Williams.

Mr Williams suggested that these drivers may possibly have decided that the conditions did not warrant extra lighting just yet which is a worry in itself.

Drivers are now being urged to check their car or small van to see if DRLs have been fitted and to note whether they’re just at the front or on the rear also.

The effectiveness of DRLs were investigated back in 2003 by the EU and they found there was a possible reduction of multi-party collisions of between 5 and 15% when they were fitted.

However, an American study in 2008 contradicted these findings by fixing the same figure at 0.3 per cent.


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