Torque shop: Daytime-running lights

Many cars come with daytime-running lights that stay on as long as the vehicle is running. PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW

I keep seeing more and more cars being driven at night with no tail-light but when I pass them, I can see some bulbs lit up inside the headlamps. How is this possible and are the drivers aware?

Many cars come with daytime-running lights (DRLs). These lights stay on as long as the vehicle is running. They are usually LEDs, which are extremely bright.

In the night, the DRLs will stay on as long as the light switch is in Off position. Some cars with DRLs do have automatic headlights, which turn on the head- and tail-lights when the ambient light is low.

For some unknown reason, there are drivers who keep the switch in Off position and hence only the DRLs stay on - day or night. In Singapore, very few cars have rear DRLs too.

As for cars with automatic headlamps, some drivers fail to put the switch in Auto position. With DRLs appearing to light up the path or vehicle in front, there is a tendency for these drivers not to check if indeed the headlights have been turned on.

Besides, our streets are relatively well lit, so visibility is not seriously impaired. However, being more inconspicuous in relation to other vehicles, these cars do pose a hazard to other motorists.

In the past, before the DRL or auto-headlight switch era, drivers would be alerted of the lack of lights during the night by the "darkness" of the gauges on the dashboard.

Today, digital dashboards light up as soon as the ignition is on, even during the day.

In Singapore, it is illegal to drive without turning on the headlights between 7pm and 7am.

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