This may sound like common sense: Turn your headlights on while driving at night. Over and over, vehicles are being observed driving down the road with no operational vehicle lighting. Many drivers not even realizing/forgetting to turn on their lights.
Why would that be?
Today’s cars and trucks are more sophisticated than ever. Many vehicles today are equipped with an illuminated instrument panel even when the headlights are not turned on, or set in an automatic mode. In previous years, dashboard lights were only lit when the exterior lighting was operated. Now they’re on day or night by design. Daytime running lights, while a safety asset during daylight, add to the nighttime deception. Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) were designed primarily to increase your vehicle’s visibility to other drivers, using your headlamps. Tail lamps are completely independent of DRLs, and not activated unless the service lighting has been turned on, leaving the rear of your vehicle particularly vulnerable. Also, DRLs typically emit a lower wattage illumination than the service lighting on a vehicle, which is insufficient for night operation. This equipment, although beneficial, trick drivers into believing their lights are on, even when they’re not.
The next time you’re preparing for a nighttime trip, make sure your service lights are functioning. See and be seen.