Headlight use at night and during inclement weather is mandated by law in most states. Many lawmakers also feel that drivers should be required to use headlights during the day to improve visibility and prevent accidents. Recent studies suggest that permanent headlight use does make a difference in reducing car accidents, though not all drivers are convinced of their value.
Studies show that using low-beam headlights during the day or daytime running lights (DRL) reduces the instance of accidents involving other cars, motorcycles, or pedestrians. Research shows that permanent headlight use decreases car accidents by up to 10 percent. When it comes to car accidents involving multiple vehicles, daytime headlight use reduces crashes by 5.7 percent.
Permanent headlight use reduces crashes with pedestrians by up to 12 percent. Permanent headlight use reduced accidents with motorcycles by nearly one quarter – the most significant of all categories analyzed. This data is especially important because accidents involving motorcycles are more likely to cause serious injuries and fatalities. With daytime headlights engaged, motorcyclists and walkers, runners, and bicyclists are simply more likely to see approaching vehicles and react accordingly.
Several countries have already instituted permanent headlight use laws resulting in a significant reduction in auto accidents. That reduction is greater in northern countries that receive less daylight and benefit from better vehicle visibility. Canada saw an 11 percent reduction in multiple vehicle accidents with the use of DRL. In Denmark, left turn accidents – often caused by poor visibility – decreased by 37 percent.
In the United States, drivers are not required to use DRL or low beam headlights during the day, except for during inclement weather. Though many automakers currently issue DRL as a standard feature in new models, they are required by law. Roughly around one-quarter of all new vehicles have DRL.
Even with the data showing that permanent headlights improve vehicle visibility enough to significantly reduce serious and fatal car accidents, some drivers are not yet convinced they should be required by law. Some opponents to permanent headlight use argue the location of headlights on taller vehicles can possibly blind oncoming motorists – leading to more car accidents. However, daytime running lights are dimmer than nighttime headlights, so they so they will not blind other drivers. In cars without DRL, low beams are a safe alternative during daylight hours.
Another concern about permanent headlight use is the cost involved with running headlights longer and replacing lights more frequently. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), permanent headlight use only costs drivers an additional $3 – $40 per year – a minimal price to pay for possibly preventing car accidents and saving lives.
Car accidents are traumatic. After an accident, victims are often overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. The Media car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. guide clients every step of the way, ensuring they take the best course of action to recover medical expenses and compensation for pain and suffering. Schedule a consultation with a Media car accident lawyer by calling 610-565-3700 or complete our online contact form. Eckell Sparks is proud to serve clients in Media and West Chester, and throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania including Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.