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Daytime Running Lights

Safety Feature or Safety Hazard?

Daytime running lights are branded as a safety feature included on many modern vehicles. But, do they actually increase safety? In this article, we look at the pros and cons of daytime running lights.

Car Accident Fatalities

At least 38,000 people were killed in car accidents in 2019. These alarming types of statistics cause car manufacturers to continue to develop and improve vehicle safety features. The goal is to make each vehicle as safe as possible for everyone.

daytime running lights can lead to car accidents

Vehicle Safety Features

Most of us don’t remember a time when cars didn’t have seatbelts. But, in 1968 seatbelts were installed in every new vehicle as a safety feature. From seatbelts to self-driving, the list of vehicle safety features continues to grow.

Safety Features Aren’t Always Safe

Sometimes, people get injured by safety features. Airbag injuries are recent examples that come to mind. But what about daytime running lights? This safety feature may be causing more harm than good.

Here is everything you need to know about daytime running lights:

What Are Daytime Running Lights?

Daytime running lights were designed and marketed as a vehicle safety feature. This feature turns on the headlights whenever you drive the vehicle. Their purpose is to increase the visibility of the car. In essence, daytime running lights are not as bright as headlights but are still visible.

car without lights speeding through city

Are Daytime Running Lights Dangerous?

Increased visibility sounds like a good idea, right? So how can daytime running lights be dangerous? 

Some States Banned Daytime Running Lights

For a time, several states banned the use of daytime running lights (DRL). The government regulations eventually allowed them to be included in cars on the road.

Opposition To Daytime Running Lights

Opposers argue that the DRL are too bright, even though they are supposed to be dim. They state the lights:

  • blind other drivers
  • make it difficult for drivers to discern from headlights
  • cause accidents

Dangers Of Daytime Running Lights

During the day, DRL are a good safety feature. At nighttime, you can see people driving with daytime running lights instead of headlights. This poses a danger for all drivers on the road. How can you tell if you or someone else is using DRL instead of headlights?

Daytime Running Lights Vs Headlights

Some drivers get confused about the difference between headlights and daytime running lights. When you understand the difference, you can easily see the dangers of using DRL at night.

Dashboard Lights

When you turn on your headlights, your dashboard lights also come on. However, DRL do not illuminate the dashboard at all. On well-lit streets, drivers may not notice their dash lights aren’t on.

Tail Lights

DRL do not turn on vehicle tail lights. This can make them harder to see, or even invisible, to cars behind them. If you’ve ever followed someone at night, and their headlights weren’t on, it possible they were only using daytime running lights. This can be potentially deadly for other drivers on the road as they may not be able to a car in front of them.


While daytime running lights do provide light in front of the car, it is not bright light. Drivers depending on DRL at night won’t be able to see as well. This creates a serious hazard for pedestrians, bicyclists, and the driver themselves.

night time collision without lights

Daytime Running Lights And Accidents

If a driver hits a car without proper lighting at night, who’s fault is it? Determining fault will largely depend on the circumstances of the crash.

Talk To A Lawyer

If you have been injured in a car accident, talk to a car accident injury lawyer for help. An injury lawyer can help you get the money you deserve.

Lancaster Personal Injury Lawyer

An injury lawyer near you in Lancaster County can help you. The lawyers at Haggerty & Silverman provide a free legal consultation. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.