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Are LED daytime running lights safe?

We've all seen them on the road -- and maybe your car is equipped with them: daytime LED running lights. These bright, bluish-white and iridescent lights certainly look flashy when a modern vehicle passes you buy, but are they safe?

You might think that the increased visibility and extra illumination of the road in front of you would help in terms of safety, but do they help or hinder in this regard? In some ways yes, but in some very big ways, no.

Not so fast: Daytime running lights could be dangerous

One of the problems with daytime running lights is something you might not expect. They're just bright enough that they commonly fool drivers into believing that they have turned the lights on in their vehicles, when, in fact, they have not. On the flip side, they are not bright enough to safely serve as normal headlights. A driver who only has his or her LED daytime running lights turned on will be at an increased risk of getting hit.

An added problem is the fact that most modern cars with daytime running lights are also equipped with a bright LCD screen on their dashboard that displays a host of metrics like speed and other data. However, because the LCD display is always on, drivers don't realize their headlights aren't on. As everyone remembers, in older cars, when the headlights turn on, the dashboard display turns on. A dark dashboard at night always served as an easy reminder to turn on one's headlights.

An easy fix to the lights off dilemma

There's an easy fix to the headlights off dilemma that car experts recommend; however, manufacturers are the ones who need to implement this fix. It simply involves programming vehicles to turn the dashboard display lighting off when the headlights are off, and turning the dashboard display lighting on when the headlights are on. This would help serve as a reminder to drivers. Alternatively, drivers can simply get into the habit of always turning their headlights on. This will improve their visibility and ensure they're never driving without their lights turned on.

If you were involved in a traffic accident with a driver who failed to turn on his or her headlights, the other driver may be at fault and liable for the accident. Generally speaking, courts will view the failure to turn on one's headlights as negligence and seek to hold the negligent driver accountable.

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