Are Daytime Running Lights Compulsory?

Are Daytime Running Lights Compulsory?

Daytime running lights have quickly become a standard feature on most vehicles in recent years. Sometimes referred to as daytime running lamps, or simply DRLs, these lights stay on at all times and make it easier for other drivers to spot your vehicle. If you’ve noticed that every vehicle on the road seems to have daytime running lights these days, you might be wondering whether they’re compulsory. Let’s take a closer look at daytime running lights and the laws surrounding them.

What are Daytime Running Lights?

Daytime running lights, as we said before, are lights that stay on at all times and make your vehicle more visible. Often, you’ll find daytime running lights on the front end of a vehicle near the headlights. Many vehicles actually have daytime running lights built into the headlight housing. This might lead some drivers to confuse daytime running lights with low beam or main beam headlights, but it’s important to know the difference.

Unlike headlights, daytime running lights don’t need to be turned off and on. As soon as you turn your vehicle on, your daytime running lights will automatically come on, no matter how sunny it is outside. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use your headlights, however. Daytime running lights are not meant to replace main beam headlights, since they don’t produce enough light to illuminate the road. The main purpose of daytime running lights are to make it easier for other drivers to see you in conditions where you don’t need your headlights. Whether you have daytime running lights or not, you should always switch your headlights on when it’s dark outside.

Are Daytime Running Lights Compulsory?

Sure, daytime running lights are a nice added safety feature. But do you really need them? In some cases, yes. It all depends on where you live. Daytime running lights are compulsory in several countries and are strongly recommended in others.

Which Countries Require Daytime Running Lights?

The first countries to require all vehicles to be equipped with daytime running lights were, unsurprisingly, Nordic countries where it is dark for most of the day during the winter. Daytime running lights have been compulsory in Sweden since 1977. Finland, Denmark, Iceland, and Norway followed Sweden’s lead and all have required daytime running lights on vehicles for many years.

In North America, Canada was the first country to require daytime running lights on vehicles. Since 1990, the law has mandated that all new vehicles either made or imported into Canada must have daytime running lights.

More recently, other nations have begun to pass laws that make daytime running lights compulsory. In European Union countries, all cars and vans manufactured after 2011 must come equipped with daytime running lights. This law was extended to include trucks and buses in 2012. According to EU regulations, daytime running lights must be separate from fog lights or headlights. Although most vehicles are required to have daytime running lights in the EU, this requirement is not extended to motorcycles. You can also get away with not having daytime running lights if your vehicle was made before 2011, at least for now.

Which Countries Don’t Require Daytime Running Lights?

Not every country requires vehicles to have daytime running lights. One notable exception is the United States. Although Canadian law requires cars to have daytime running lights, the United States does not. In fact, in the U.S., automakers fought with regulatory agencies to get daytime running lights permitted. It wasn’t until 1995 that American cars could have daytime running lights.

Australia follows similar laws as the United States when it comes to daytime running lights. While they are permitted on Australian vehicles, daytime running lights are not legally required. The same is true in Japan, where daytime running lights are less common.

Whether they’re required or not, daytime running lights are a good safety feature to have. They don’t require much power to run, and they make it easier for other drivers to see you. Just don’t rely on daytime running lights to replace your headlights.