Lights on or light off at dawn and dusk

Submitted: Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 10:03
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I travel to work just after dawn with my lights on and so does 80% of the other vehicles. Why don't other 20% put their lights on,is it so the won't accidentally leave them on during the day and end up with a flat battery?
Looking out of the front of the car its reasonably clear, but a quick look in the mirror its not so clear. Why can't people drive with their lights on around these times????????????

I remember that radio stations used to put an announcement as to when you should either turn your lights on or off. What happened to that????

Thanks, I have now vented.

Wato

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Reply By: Notso - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 10:22

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 10:22
I reckon they should come on automatically when you start driving whether it's day or night. I drive with mine on either day or night. I guess it's easy for me as the Triton has that facility available.
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Reply By: garrycol - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 10:39

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 10:39
My headlights come and off depending on environmental light intensities - so auto on at night and low light during the day.

AnswerID: 479950

Reply By: Member - Richard H - West NSW - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 10:51

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 10:51
At times in N.S.W. you will see road signs advising drivers to turn their headlights on during daylight hours.

Similarly, the R.T.A. or whatever their name is this week, have theirs come on automatically when the engine starts.

Personally, I'm of two minds about this, on some roads, yes, on others no, but what does annoy the crap out of me are those who have their headlight on high beam during the day. What, with some of the headlamp bulbs putting out 150 watts worth of light, they are blinding.

And slightly off thread.......

If you are towing a van with a 12v fridge drawing off the alternator, an Elgel, plus one or two deep cycle batteries, would having the headlamps and the rest of the light show on tug and van, place an undue load on the alternator?
AnswerID: 479951

Follow Up By: Crackles - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 11:49

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 11:49
"If you are towing a van with a 12v fridge drawing off the alternator, an Elgel, plus one or two deep cycle batteries, would having the headlamps and the rest of the light show on tug and van, place an undue load on the alternator?"

If people are leaving their lights off at dawn & dusk because they have too many assesories then they should possibly reasses their charging requirements. On a modern car I doubt those items would be an issue for the alternator.
Cheers Craig.................
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 14:38

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 14:38
I wouldn't call the fridge an accessory seeing that the food for the next fortnight camping in the desert and other isolated places is in it or even two with the second small one as a dedicated freezer. It is a necessity.

But I would be interested in a response for a standard car set-up say a 100 series.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 16:05

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 16:05
Quote "but what does annoy the crap out of me are those who have their headlight on high beam during the day."

From the Oz road rules:

218 Using headlights on high-beam

(1) The driver of a vehicle must not use the vehicle’s headlights on high-beam, or allow the vehicle’s headlights to be used on high-beam, if the driver is driving:

(a) less than 200 metres behind a vehicle travelling in the same direction as the driver; or

(b) less than 200 metres from an oncoming vehicle. Offence provision.

(2) However, if the driver is overtaking a vehicle, the driver may briefly switch the headlights from low-beam to high-beam immediately before the driver begins to overtake the vehicle.

There is no mention of day or night time conditions. Therefore the rule applies at all times.




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Follow Up By: ross - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 16:45

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 16:45
"If you are towing a van with a 12v fridge drawing off the alternator, an Elgel, plus one or two deep cycle batteries, would having the headlamps and the rest of the light show on tug and van, place an undue load on the alternator?"

There is a lot of variables in that question.Is the fridge a 100 litre or 15 litres ,are the batteries 50 amp or 200 amp?How many lights,what size bulbs?
You need to add up all the amps they need to function and compare it with the output of your alternator.

Generally ,you wouldnt be harming your alternator,but your batteries might not cope too well unless you can charge them from a 240v source.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 16:48

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 16:48
Doesn't the law say somewhere that lights are not to be "glaring" to other drivers. Or what ever the statement is.

It as if they want to be seen and not in the "safety" sense. Look at me everybody!!! Or just plain ignorant.

I agree with Richard.

Phil

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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 17:17

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 17:17
I should have put brain into gear before asking. Yes there are a lot of parameters. I agree it is not an excuse to have the lights off.

Back to the topic: If the visibility is good why have them on. If you cannot see me in the middle of a nice clear day then you have either been cheating on your eye tests or you need a new one or you weren't looking, maybe playing with your mobile phone! In any of these cases you shouldn't be driving.

Nightime and bad visibilty = yes of course.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 20:00

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 20:00
Quote "If the visibility is good why have them on."

It more depends upon the colour of your car than the visibility. I have been taking particular note of the visibility of oncoming cars whilst travelling over here in the SW of WA. There seems more vehicles over here that are not white or a yellow colour. It's a great strain to see them in the distance against the bitumen roads. If you are in a relaxed driving mood you just don't see the dark cars. On the other hand, if they have their low beam headlights on then it's hard to not see them.

Don't be a Richard cranium. When on the open road put your headlights for your own protection. Why act suicidally?


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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 20:37

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 20:37
No need to have a foul mouth Peter.

I will drive within the law AND BEYOND as stated when needed and if you do not like it then so be it but don't swear at me mate.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 23:24

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 23:24
Nomadic Navara, I nearly had a head on crash a few ks north of Kojonup on Albanly Highway for the very same reason, I was travelling behind a sheep truck and when checking for safe overtaking there seemed like a long stretch of road to over take safely, I pulled out to pass but my little voice told me something wasn't right so started to head back behind the truck and as I did I saw this charcoal coloured car heading my way out of the dip, the line on the road was broken so all seemed well, he didn't have his lights on, it was a cloudy day, no sun so no shiny bits on the car, and the dip was deep enough to just see the roof (if the car was the right colour) I had my daughter and her fiancee in the car at the time so we would have all been gone by now if I hadn't hesitated. Did he give me a serve with lights and horn when he went by, but I really didn't see him because of the colour of the car blending into the road on that day, it was just my instincts that I couldn't see the white line all the way along, also the white posts on the side of the road weren't there which was an indication of a dip (to me anyway), glad I was concentrating. I would never own a silver, or grey coloured car, they may be ok in the city but get out on our country roads and they are hard to see. Just my two cents worth.

Cheers

D


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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 23:41

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 23:41
D

You were indeed lucky. Even if he had his lights on it wouldn't have helped because, accoding to you, he was in a dip.

I think everyone comes across this. In similar circumstances I hope my mind recognises that a part odf the road is missing and tells me to "stay right there young fella". So far it has been good.

Regarding the lights; There is, or used to be, a corner between Holbrook and Albury that twice a year for about two weeks, the setting sun is directly in line with the road as the road climbs climbs a gentle rise for about half a mile and then swings to the south. It was well known as a bad spot. You couldn't even see a truck or bus coming the other way "out of the sun". Just another of those few places where lights wouldn't have helped.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 00:53

Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 00:53
I agree Phil that the lights may not have helped in that particular situation, I think maybe if the line on the road was made solid so that you knew it wasn't safe to over take in that particular spot would be more sensible, however having said that, it was the colour of the car that was the problem, a white or light coloured car I would have been able to see the top of it, the charcoal one blended with the road on the dull day that it was.
I have been looked after by some one over my years of driving, a few very near misses, I think you really need to concentrate out there when we are on the roads so much, don't take chances and don't assume all is well.


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Follow Up By: ross - Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 02:16

Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 02:16
If you cant see cars coming towards you from a kilometre away in broad daylight without their headlights on,you probably need your eyes tested.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 09:20

Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 09:20
Dunworkin (wish you would give a name this sounds so childish and rubber ducky ish).

Do you realise that rumour has it that it was a head-on with a greyhound bus back in the 70's that prompted the use of lights during the daytime in Australia. The bus was grey and it was a bright clear day. The colour can make a differance that is why I never overtake unless I am positive.

Sorry D but I would have never contemplated with the center line missing and a few white posts also out of view. These are the first things you look for. Slight error of judgement that we are all capable of mate.

Ross

I think you should add that you may need glasses and to get your eyes tested. But D has a point that the colour can make a differance. Any colour - any time - anywhere.

Cheers guys.

Phil
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Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 13:57

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 13:57
I think you will find it is the law in Canada to drive with lights on 24/7

Alan
AnswerID: 479964

Follow Up By: Ray - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 14:16

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 14:16
What does annoy me is that some people drive with both headlights and fog? lights on during daylight hours.
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Follow Up By: Ray - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 14:19

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 14:19
and those HID (blue) lamps that flicker and flutter
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 15:55

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 15:55
Quote "What does annoy me is that some people drive with both headlights and fog? lights on during daylight hours."

Fog lights must only be used in fog conditions and at no other time. From the Oz road rules which have been accepted by all states:

217 Using fog lights

(1) The driver of a vehicle fitted with front fog lights or rear fog lights must not operate the fog light unless the driver is driving in fog or other hazardous weather conditions causing reduced visibility.

Offence provision.

(2) In this rule:

front fog light means a light (other than a headlight) fitted to the front of a vehicle to improve illumination of the road in fog, snowfall, heavy rain or dust clouds.

rear fog light means a light (other than a brake light, a tail light, a number plate light or a reversing light) fitted to the rear of a vehicle to make the vehicle more easily visible from the rear in fog, snowfall, heavy rain or dust clouds.



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Reply By: Member - bill f (QLD) - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 14:19

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 14:19
Like to have the lights on full time as it seems a good safety issue.Had the facillity "daytime running lights" wired into both the x-trail & the triton. Headlights came on when key turned on & parkers & taillights in low light situation. No worries about flattening battery.With the Mahindra auto lecky could not make it work. Parkers & taillights would stay on after engine turned off. Removed so that would not flatten battery. Bill
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Reply By: vk1dx - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 14:51

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 14:51
I turn them on as required. If it is bad lighting yes but for full sun on a freeway - nope. For all situations in between I judge them according to what I see. I do not have 20-20 vision and need to wear glasses. If I find it any way difficult then on they go.

I never drive with the fog lights on unless it is foggy or hazy or smoky or the cops announce that it is okay to turn them on. In most of these situations it can be beneficial to turn the headlights off.

I never drive in the daytime with the high beam on. Nor in a built up area at night with the high beam on.

It irritates me that on a dual carriageway that oncoming cars seem to think it is okay to leave their high beams and driving lights on.

I will meet the 100% brigade part way with having lights on in the daytime.

Phil
AnswerID: 479967

Reply By: vk1dx - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 15:00

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 15:00
This may get shot in the head as it is a bit OT.

Wato

I was wondering why vision in the mirror isn't as good as out the front? You said: "Looking out of the front of the car its reasonably clear, but a quick look in the mirror its not so clear"

Possibly dirty on the inside of the car's side and rear windows or do you have tinting on the windows that may be a bit dark?

Because of our aging eyes we have a bit of tinting but purposely, apart from the regs, made the front passenger and driver side windows and the rear window a little lighter.

Phil
AnswerID: 479968

Follow Up By: wato35 - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 15:53

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 15:53
vk1dx

What i mean by that is you spend alot of your driving time looking forward out of a big area. When you look in the mirror it usually for a short duration and the mirror is a lot smaller then the front window. You may look in the mirror many times but you don't see as much.

Wato
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 16:43

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 16:43
Got you.

Phil
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Reply By: Member - Royce- Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 15:09

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 15:09
One of my vehicles has an audible alarm if I leave my lights on.
I use them every time I drive... the others, I'm reluctant to put lights on in daylight as I so often leave them on and end up with a flat batt.
AnswerID: 479970

Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 15:23

Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 15:23
Royce,

A few years ago I started turning the lights on when I get in the car and off when i get out.

I had a couple of occasions when I forgot them, luckily I never had the flat battery. After a while it simply became automatic. I do it now without thinking.

Duncs
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Reply By: pop2jocem - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 17:25

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 17:25
AFAIK it is a legal requirement to have your headlights, not park or fog, on between the hours of sunset and sunrise. Obviously this can be modified to suit conditions of bad visibility such as rain, just heavy clouds, mist, fog or whatever. As was mentioned in an earlier thread certain colours of vehicles make them much harder to see under some circumstances.
Having said all that I drive a white Landcruiser often towing a 22' equally white caravan and if you are having trouble seeing either or both on a bright sunny day maybe you need to see a good optometrist.

Cheers
Pop
AnswerID: 479985

Follow Up By: member - mazcan - Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 14:37

Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 14:37
hi pop
you are correct that has always been the rules in wa and of course if its an overcast day in the winter one can not always see the sun setting so then common sense has to come into the equasion and i will add the inconsiderate poeple who have their head lights on high beam during daytime driving need to be fined for doing so as they do blind oncoming drivers
im not totally against headlights been used during daylight hours if its raining or heavy overcast in winter but at all other times inho its unneccessary except for motorbikes that are hard to see
yes the greys and dark blues and green and silver colours are a problem in certain light conditions and if my memory serves me well
the rac wa did some research on this in the past with simular results i seem to recall
cheers

barry
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Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 15:42

Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 15:42
My Father, 82 years old and not as sharp as he once was can look out across the water and see a boat with his naked eye that I can't see with binoculars. I don't need to wear glasses to drive, he does. It is simply something that he did for a long time as part of his job, he remains very good at it and is suprised that others can't see the boat.

I have a friend who can spot cattle in a field long before I or my father can. Something he did for a job for many years and he is good at it. He has tried to show me what to look for but it doesn't work.

As others have said colour makes a difference. My mobile phone antennae mounted on the bull bar is black. It is often easy to see and other times it is easy to see past. I know people who have white ones that are the same. Light conditions make a big difference to how easy anything is to see. I have seen white semi-trailers appear almost miraculously when they have driven into or out of the shade.

I drive with my headlights on. I am not perfect and I have been flagged down and told that the high beam was on. Sorry, didn't mean it and I am now more careful of that, but at least I was seen. I have never had an issue with the cars electrics because of this. I figure if it makes me easier to see and especially as it seems not to cost me anything why not?

The thing I notice is that when conditions are poor and most people have lights on it is usually the guy in the grey, dark blue or black car that leaves them off.

Duncs

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Reply By: Wilko (Parkes NSW) - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 20:26

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 20:26
Hi Wato,

I had a near death experience years ago and now I always have them on. I was traveling near Jerilderie. A Truck started to overtake another truck about 50 yards in front of me coming my way. I went bush and cleaned up several small saplings. The trucks stopped to check on me and I dont know who was whiter me or him. He said he just didn't see me.

When I thought about it I was more at fault then the trucky, Not having my lights on could have killed me and your a long time dead.

I wish all cars automatically come on and go off, Now that ll be a real road safety improvement.

Cheers Wilko

AnswerID: 479995

Reply By: Member - Doug T (NT) - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 21:18

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 21:18
Common sense....Sunset on, Sunrise off, unless it's raining on all the time, and if you own a silver/grey vehicle, ON all the time, the idea is to be seen, if the other driver does not see you ..........
Also if in late afternoon you have the Sun low behind you turn lights on so the on coming traffic can see you.

.
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Reply By: Bush Wanderer - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 23:40

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 23:40
Both of my cars are set to daytime running of lights.
Would not have it any other way.
I do a lot of travel in regional areas....I want to be seen.
AnswerID: 480018

Reply By: Member - Richard H - West NSW - Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 10:08

Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 10:08
I very nearly met Jesus on the old Hume Highway near Wangaratta in the 1970's.

Here's how it nearly happened. Travelling south in a HD wagon, late afternoon, with trees on the roadside verge creating shadows, wife and kids on board. We came up behind a slow ice cream delivery truck. Pulled out a little bit, road was clear and broken lines in the roadway, so I accelerated and commenced to overtake.

Suddenly, not far in front of me and coming straight at me was a light brown VW beetle. I can remember clearly my thoughts at the time, if I hit the VW we are gone, if I swerve into the truck I might stand a chance.

However, I braked and I'd say the VW also did, and I managed to slip back behind the truck. I smoked in those days and I stopped up the road and had about four durries in rapid succession to calm my nerves down.

What I reckoned occurred is this, the VW being a colour that could easily blend in with the background, did just that. The tree shadows across the road adding to camouflage. I find that when you overtake you give the ground in front of you a quick scan, then focus on the vehicle being overtaken and the near distance so as to pass and return to your side of the road with a margin of safety. In that momentary glance up the road I missed the VW.

I have long maintained that some vehicle paint colours should be prohibited, such as some shades of brown, green and even black, because they blend in with the background vegetation.

You will see A.D.F. vehicles that are painted in camouflage colours on the road with their headlights on during the day, for this very reason.

Though I wear glasses now, at that time I didn't as my occupation required perfect vision, without spectacles.

I'm for lights on in rural areas during the day.




AnswerID: 480034

Reply By: Villatranquilla - Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 12:11

Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 12:11
we have a silver grey navara and have had a switch that turns on lights automatically when ignition is on. Not so important when towing the van as it stands out like a big white block of flats.
Cannot believe the number of cars (darker colors mostly) who had lights off around 4pm on a wet rainy day on the Princes Hwy b/w Lakes Entrance and Bairnsdale last week.
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Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 13:54

Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 13:54
I subscribe to the 'See and Be Seen, HEADlights on 24/7', as seen on some roadside signs.
One thing that bugs me are vehicles with only PARKING lights on. The drivers then falsely assume they are safe. You can usually see the vehicle before the lights.
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Follow Up By: landseka - Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 17:35

Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 17:35
Exactly Rod, Park lights are for Parking, when will people realise that simple fact?

Cheers Neil
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Reply By: Member - Nolo (Brisbane) - Tuesday, Mar 13, 2012 at 22:36

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2012 at 22:36
I have a silver coloured Landcruiser which is probably one of the poorest to see in dull weather. I recently fitted a set of Philips LED Daytime Running Lights kit which are wired to come on whenever the vehicle is started. They turn off automatically when the motor is stopped and when the headlights are turned on according to Transport regulations. I am happy with this safety feature.

In Europe since 01/07/2011, all new vehicles must be fitted with this feature and I would not be surprised to see this saftey requirement appear more in Australia.

Cheers
AnswerID: 480309

Reply By: Horacehighroller - Wednesday, Mar 14, 2012 at 17:43

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2012 at 17:43
Like a number of other posters, I had an "experience" years ago while overtaking (oncoming silver/grey car) and since then I nearly always have the lights on (My cruiser is also silver).
Even if it was a different colour I would use lights as they allow you to be seen earlier in certain situations, eg winding road with roadside trees or road with "dips" or when you pull out from behind a truck because you haven't seen another oncoming car.
What harm does it do to highlight your own presence (so long as you don't use high beam or fog lights)
If an oncoming B-double is about to start overtaking another B-double I'd like him to know where I am even if it is more than a km away.

Also, my dear departed dad taught me years ago that if you can see the shadow of your vehicle infont of you, then you should put your headlights on.

Peter
AnswerID: 480374

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