Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108, Canada Motor Vehicle Safety
Standard 108, and ECE Regulation 48 all require front position lamps
("parking lamps" in North America, "city lights" colloquially mostly by
North Americans talking about European cars). Ergo, these lamps are
required all over the world.
The lamps you describe are not called "running lights" anywhere in the
world. They are referred to as "front position lamps" in international
ECE regulations, and "parking lamps" in North American regulations.
They are required to remain illuminated with headlamps for the reason
you state (vehicle position and width indication in the event of a
burned out headlamp).
Incorrect. The maximum permissible axial intensity for DRLs anywhere in
the world is 7,000 candela, for North American high-beam DRLs. The
MINIMUM allowable axial intensity for high beam headlamps anywhere in
the world is 20,000 candela, for the very weakest type of headlamps
(those equipped with HB1/9004 bulbs in North America; those equipped
with R2 non-halogen bulbs in ECE countries).
Incorrect. Regardless of the presence, absence or degree of discomfort
due to glare, there is ALWAYS reduction in visual acuity due to glare.
You are again confusing glare with conspicuity. They are not the same.
By your logic, ALL vehicle lamps would have to be painfully glaring in
order to be effective --- turn signals, brake lights, etc.
Your doubt notwithstanding, ECE Regulation 87 (Daytime Running Lamps
for Motor Vehicles) and ECE Regulation 48 (Installation and Wiring of
Lighting and Signalling Devices) do not permit the use of high beams as
DRLs, at any intensity level. ECE regulations are in force virtually
everywhere in the world except North America. QED.
You may want to spend some time on Wikipedia at the articles entitled
"Headlamp", "Automotive Lighting", and "Daytime Running Lamp". You can
probably get a great many of your misunderstandings and incorrect
conclusions cleared up with just those three articles. If that's not to
your liking, then I recommend spending a couple of weeks' worth of 9-5
days at the UMTRI library in Ann Arbor, MI.
Side lights in the UK. Parking lights used to be a separate single bulb
device mounted about the middle of the car with a clear lens to the front,
red to the back. Some clipped on to the driver's door window. They were
needed in any towns without street lighting - or more usually when it was
switched off after a certain time at night. Very few if any these days,
The more modern German version which allows just one front and tail
light for overnight parking etc would be legal in the UK as a parking
light, but not all UK cars are so fitted.
*Reality is the illusion that occurs due to the lack of alcohol *
Dave Plowman email@example.com London SW
Obsolete term that has been replaced in the most current versions of
the UK regulations with "front position lamps". However, colloquial
usage of "sidelights" to refer to the front position (US "parking") and
rear position (US "tail") lamps is still common in the UK.
The UK "sidelight" terminology arose exactly as you describe, from the
earlier devices that were permanently or temporarily mounted on the
side of the car. They created a big terminology problem when
side*marker* lights came along -- almost as big as the "driving lamp"
There are various levels of getting one's attention. If you really wanted
to get my attention, use the highbeams undimmed as running lights.
DRLs do not have to be obnoxious, they merely have to be seen.
I don't understand. What good is getting my attention if all I do is to quit
using my mirrors?
Passing isn't very safe because of your actions. Well, to be honest it's because
of my reaction to your action. But your action almost mandates my reaction which
puts the responsibility on your shoulders. (I'm talking about the moral
responsibility since I'm not an expert in the legal field.)
BTW, I wont look into my mirrors for the same reason I wont look into the sun.
Aren't. It's robustly demonstrated in all the world's DRL studies that
most of the safety benefit from DRLs is in reduction of *angular*
collisions with pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles -- not in
head-on or near-head-on collisions. It is essentially impossible to
produce a lamp that gives good high beam performance at full voltage,
AND can be run at reduced intensity such that it produces a wide enough
cone of illumination to give significant improvements in angular
conspicuity without producing far too much glare on axis. High-beam
DRLs tend to illuminate at the maximum allowable intensities on axis (excessive glare) but at or near the minimum allowable intensities
laterally off-axis (= insufficient angular conspicuity, therefore
minimal actual safety performance benefit). In addition, high-beam DRLs
share the disadvantages of all headlamp-based DRLs: They consume so
much power that their use is akin to opening the refrigerator door,
pulling up a chair and using the fridge light to read a book, and they
are too often improperly used instead of full-voltage headlamps after
dark, because they create the appearance of a light beam in front of
the car -- drivers and cops often can't tell the difference, or don't
care. Come up to Canada sometime and see for yourself! This use of
headlamp-based DRLs after dark creates various unsafe situations: Cars
unlit from the sides and rear, cars producing much too much glare for
other road users and too much backdazzle in bad weather, etc.
Low-beam DRLs have the energy-inefficiency problem, as well as the
conundrum that a good low-beam light distribution is opposite what is
needed for a good DRL light distribution.
And, there is the bulb life problem with all headlamp-based DRLs. The
effective decrease in lifespan pushes makers to use long-life bulbs,
which give reduced luminance and poorer beam focus, resulting in
diminished headlamp performance after dark.
The best DRLs are functionally-specific ones. The second-best ones are
the front turn signals burned full time.
OK, I see what you are saying. But have any cars been mass produced
with functionally specific DRLs? I am not aware of any. Or any that
have used the front turn signals either for that matter. That would
seem to be a best solution (without adding much cost to the car) if that
is what is actually needed.
In the North American market at the moment:
-Chevrolet and GMC full-size pickup trucks since '99
-Chevrolet and GMC midsize pickups and derivatives since '01 or so
-Volvos with BiXenon headlamps
There are also many such vehicles in the rest-of-world ECE market, and
there will soon be very many more, as DRLs compliant with ECE R87 will
become mandatory across Europe in 2010.
In the whole North American market unless otherwise noted:
-Chevrolet and GMC full-size vans since 2003
-Chrysler minivans from 1996-2000 (std. Canada, optional US)
-Chrysler LeBaron & Imperial, 1990-1993 (Canada)
-Saturn Ion and other Saturn models
-Corvette C5 and C6
-Cadillac (all or most current models)
-Lincoln Zephyr (might be Canada only)
-Toyota trucks & SUVs (various models, might be Canada only)
-Ford Probe, 1990-end of production (Canada)
-Mazda Miata, 1990-1998 (std Canada, optional US)
Turn signal DRLs are not legal outside North America (ECE R87 requires
them to emit white light).
And more I'm dysremembering right now
There is an inexpensive module available to activate front turn signal
DRLs on most any vehicle.
Very simple: COST! High beam headlamps aren't frequently used, so
there's less impact on the effective useful life of a device a driver
might be unhappy with if it were to last a shorter time than he
expected (ask any VW Beetle owner how he likes having to replace low
beam headlamp bulbs every other month). Also, with high beam DRLs,
there's no need to worry about turn signal intensity.
Well, high beam DRLs don't work very well (too much intensity straight
ahead, not enough intensity out to the sides), but fog lamps are not
legal as DRLs in the US, only in Canada. Low beams don't make very good
DRLs at all. If one is constrained to using only the lighting equipment
on a non-DRL vehicle, without adding any new lighting devices, then the
front turn signal DRL is definitely the best pick, all things
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