Car headlights at night

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  • Car headlights at night
  • bencooper
    Member

    You MUST … use headlights at night, except on a road which has lit street lighting.

    https://www.gov.uk/general-rules-all-drivers-riders-103-to-158/lighting-requirements-113-to-116

    Seriously?!

    Via Carlton Reid on Twitter.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    115
    You should also

    use dipped headlights, or dim-dip if fitted, at night in built-up areas and in dull daytime weather, to ensure that you can be seen

    I wonder if contravening the ‘should’ would contribute to careless driving or some other catch-all offence..?

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    not much point having reflectors on my pedals if the cars aren’t emitting light to be reflected…

    bencooper
    Member

    Yes, it’s all very wooly – is “must” legally stricter than “should” and which over-rules which?

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    of a similar subject is th eUK history of a dim-dip lamp circuit in 1987
    http://dastern.torque.net/techdocs/dimdip.html

    Then the EC told the Uk to stop being prats and got rid of the dim-dip requirement. The landy had a dim-dip relay in it that, as usual, had failed. I have taken it out now.

    Premier Icon grizedaleforest
    Subscriber

    Yes, it’s all very wooly – is “must” legally stricter than “should” and which over-rules which?

    Shall and should mean a duty on a person; must means ‘is required to’ and usually is referred to an object. So ‘you should use your lights’ v ‘your lights must work’. They’re equivalent really in terms of legal weight.

    thomthumb
    Member

    does that not mean sidelights are ok under street lighting. Not ideal for sure. but it doesn’t mean no lights.

    Premier Icon bails
    Subscriber

    ‘Must’ means there’s a law backing it up. ‘Should’ is just a recommendation. E.g. you ‘should’ wear a helmet and hi viz on a bike. You ‘Must’ have a red rear reflector (after dark).

    edit:
    Grizedaleforest, do you mean in the general grammar sense, or in the highway code specifically. In the highway code “MUST” is backed up by a law. E.g.

    114
    You MUST NOT

    use any lights in a way which would dazzle or cause discomfort to other road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders
    use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced. You MUST switch them off when visibility improves to avoid dazzling other road users (see Rule 226).
    In stationary queues of traffic, drivers should apply the parking brake and, once the following traffic has stopped, take their foot off the footbrake to deactivate the vehicle brake lights. This will minimise glare to road users behind until the traffic moves again.
    Law RVLR reg 27

    115
    You should also

    use dipped headlights, or dim-dip if fitted, at night in built-up areas and in dull daytime weather, to ensure that you can be seen
    keep your headlights dipped when overtaking until you are level with the other vehicle and then change to main beam if necessary, unless this would dazzle oncoming road users
    slow down, and if necessary stop, if you are dazzled by oncoming headlights

    116
    Hazard warning lights. These may be used when your vehicle is stationary, to warn that it is temporarily obstructing traffic. Never use them as an excuse for dangerous or illegal parking. You MUST NOT use hazard warning lights while driving or being towed unless you are on a motorway or unrestricted dual carriageway and you need to warn drivers behind you of a hazard or obstruction ahead. Only use them for long enough to ensure that your warning has been observed.
    Law RVLR reg 27

    faz083
    Member

    God. Brings me on to the number of people I see, on the motorway, with side lights and fog lights on. Truly baffles me how they can see ANYTHING. Probably see 10 of these people a week.

    Also don’t think people realise fog lights are not daytime running lights, and it’s actually not allowed to use them unless in low visibility conditions. I do the kind thing and flash them a full beam and fog light combi to let them know. No one ever reacts.

    bencooper
    Member

    The “people who sit in a traffic queue with their brake lights on” thing annoys me too. Though not as much as the other half – she wants one of those high-power lasers so she can pop their tyres from inside the car.

    Premier Icon finishthat
    Subscriber

    “side lights” need to be renamed as “parking lights”

    And manufacturers should be discouraged from illuminating the dashboard
    lights unless the headlights are lit so that drivers cannot drive around with no lights on oblivious to the fact.

    Premier Icon grizedaleforest
    Subscriber

    ‘Must’ means there’s a law backing it up. ‘Should’ is just a recommendation. E.g. you ‘should’ wear a helmet and hi viz on a bike. You ‘Must’ have a red rear reflector (after dark).

    edit:
    Grizedaleforest, do you mean in the general grammar sense, or in the highway code specifically. In the highway code “MUST” is backed up by a law. E.g.

    This was from a law course I did once. Here’s a bit I’ve just found on the web. However can’t argue with your explanation and the way the Highway code snippet is worded!

    Premier Icon bails
    Subscriber

    This was from a law course I did once. Here’s a bit I’ve just found on the web. However can’t argue with your explanation and the way the Highway code snippet is worded!

    You’re probably right for a day-to-day sense, but for the highway code specifically they use ‘must’ to refer to something that has a law behind it.

    The “people who sit in a traffic queue with their brake lights on” thing annoys me too.

    You’re annoyed because you don’t have an automatic car?

    And a lot of cars (especially the VAG range) have DRLs built into the fogs so it looks like people are driving around with their fogs on (but they’re dimmed vs actually having fogs on). Agree though, you can’t go anywhere without seeing some idiot with their actual fogs on no matter what time of day or night it is.

    bencooper
    Member

    You’re annoyed because you don’t have an automatic car?

    Automatic cars still have handbrakes usually, don’t they?

    Premier Icon grizedaleforest
    Subscriber

    A lorry driver mate says rear fog lights should be banned. His argument being that, aside from misuse, they encourage people to drive faster in poor conditions. I know what he means, but suppose ultimately that way of thinking would take us to no rear lights at all.

    Dont think this will make any difference

    And manufacturers should be discouraged from illuminating the dashboard
    lights unless the headlights are lit so that drivers cannot drive around with no lights on oblivious to the fact.

    Was driving out of Lakeside the other day behind a guy with no lights on about 9:30pm. Gave him a quick flash as a reminder but nothing, pulled up alongside at the traffic lights and his entire centre console was black. So he had no idea how fast or where he was going. Mental.

    What really winds me up is the latest craze for a fog light to illuminate when people are turning a corner. Why? Can you suddenly not see round? Headlights are designed with almost 180 degree lighting so you can see as you drive around a corner.

    konabunny
    Member

    of a similar subject is th eUK history of a dim-dip lamp circuit in 1987
    http://dastern.torque.net/techdocs/dimdip.html

    I reckon I’ve been online pretty intensively for the last fifteen years and that that is the most boring link I’ve ever read.

    Automatic cars still have handbrakes usually, don’t they?

    OK, I’ll rephrase my statement. You’ve never driven an automatic have you?

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    A lorry driver mate says rear fog lights should be banned. His argument being that, aside from misuse, they encourage people to drive faster in poor conditions. I know what he means, but suppose ultimately that way of thinking would take us to no rear lights at all.

    I sometimes wonder if rear fogs are a UK only requirement. The switch is usually amongst the auxiliary buttons rather than with the rest of the lighting controls. In my van the switch isn’t illuminated and for most drivers (depending on their height) its occluded by the steering wheel too so you have to feel for it on the dash.

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    ‘Must’ means there’s a law backing it up. ‘Should’ is just a recommendation.

    The Highway Code is a code of conduct, not a book of laws, although laws are also listed in it. But for drivers the knowledge of, and adherence to, the code is one of the conditions that your license to drive is contingent on.

    So a ‘should’ is only advice for pecs, cyclists, horse riders and the like because their use of the road isn’t restricted by a license, but its more onerous for a driver as they can only use the road with the permission of that licence.

    fasthaggis
    Member

    “side lights” need to be renamed as “parking lights”

    And manufacturers should be discouraged from illuminating the dashboard
    lights unless the headlights are lit so that drivers cannot drive around with no lights on oblivious to the fact.

    Hear ,hear

    Side lights only available with engine off.

    faz083
    Member

    OK, I’ll rephrase my statement. You’ve never driven an automatic have you?

    The whole brake lights in a queue thing really annoyed me too, until I saw your comment. Forgot you have to sit on the brakes in an auto. Some brake lights, then, are overly bright. Gives me a splitting headache when I’ve got a new audi or BMW in front with the driver resting his foot on the brake pedal.

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Subscriber

    Having your brake lights on in a queue is safer IMHO – makes some of the less observant drivers think that your car is at most slowing and may be coming to a halt and encourage them to react by braking in good time.

    Fog light use front or rear when not in fog really annoys me. It is especially bad in rain, where it is so bloody dazzling!

    I have LED running lights and they are bright enough to let me drive down out adjacent unlit rear access – even when pitch black. I think they should probably be a bit dimmer – I sometimes think they could dazzle…

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Singletrackmind of this parish came up with a great idea – Fog lights also switch on a speed limiter (20-30mph) – if the fog is bad enough to need fog lights then you need to be going bloody slow.
    That’d stop the morons from using them in the rain.

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Subscriber

    Forgot you have to sit on the brakes in an auto.

    My car like many similar autos comes with a ‘P’ for Park and ‘N’ for Neutral. so auto drivers don’t need to depress the brake to stay stationary… I choose to always depress my brake pedal though.

    towzer
    Member

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1989/1796/regulation/27/made

    Restrictions on the use of lamps other than those to which regulation 24 refers
    27. No person shall use, or cause or permit to be used, on a road any vehicle on which any lamp, hazard warning signal device or warning beacon of a type specified in an item in column 2 of the Table below is used in a manner specified in that item in column 3.

    Col
    1 11
    2 Any other lamp
    3 Used so as to cause undue dazzle or discomfort to other persons using the road.

    Given the intensity of some brake lights and having ‘seen’ a Merc with 3 high levels I wonder what a nice policeman might say

    Premier Icon muddy@rseguy
    Subscriber

    I could give you all a very long lecture on the full legality of car lights and exactly why things are the way they are, historical background reasons, technical info, UN ECE homologation etc. but as that all seems a lot like being at work I wont (even though I am at work, so it would actually feel like work regardless)

    However, if you really feel the need to trust your life while driving at night to a pair of 5w sidelight bulbs that would struggle to illuminate the inside of a small fridge…

    ..wanders off mumbling about the important and fundamental differences between Lumens and Lux.

    Premier Icon bails
    Subscriber

    Having your brake lights on in a queue is safer IMHO – makes some of the less observant drivers think that your car is at most slowing and may be coming to a halt and encourage them to react by braking in good time.

    I think it means in a stationary queue. The advice in Roadcraft IIRC is, when you come to a stop, to show your brakes lights to make yourself more visible until the car behind you has stopped. Then you know that they’ve seen you and know you’ve stopped, so you release the brake pedal to avoid dazzling anyone (handbrake on, obviously).

    The problem is people who sit at a long light sequence, completely stationary with their foot on the brake for a minute+, especially very recent cars with the really bright brake lights.

    Roadcraft also says not to dab your brake lights if you’re not actually slowing down. It’s because when you actually do start slowing down the following driver is less likely to notice because your brake lights have been showing for the last 300 metres with no deceleration.

    edit: Also annoying are people who don’t use the handbrake or footbrake. They pull up to a red light on a slight upslope, come to a stop then roll forwards a few feet veeeery slowly. Then roll back down the hill a few feet. Then roll forwards again, then back, then forwards. YOU’VE GOT NO CLUTCH CONTROL, JUST USE THE BLADDY HANDBRAKE!

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    ooo, muddy@rseguy – while you’re around…

    quick “work” question if you dont mind! 😉

    This image on the westfield site shows where lights and reflectors need to be mounted to pass the SVA

    the MOT however doesnt specify the exact location of the reflectors
    http://www.motuk.co.uk/manual_150.htm

    My dad wants to replace the reflectors on the back of his 1960’s Austin Healey 3000 with indicators so that the stop lamp no longer acts as an indicator. He then wants to fit some reflectors to the underside of the rear bumper. They are likely to be very close if not lower than 250mm from the deck – would that be a problem for the MOT?

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Subscriber

    so you release the brake pedal to avoid dazzling anyone (handbrake on, obviously).

    That’s exactly what I do!

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    I appreciate that some brake lights are brighter than others. But are people honestly ‘dazzled’ by them? “a splitting headache” -really?

    Is there a rabies outbreak I was unaware of? If not I think some people need to clean their windscreen or their glasses or their eyeballs properly 🙂

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    “side lights” need to be renamed as “parking lights” utterly pointless vestigial lights

    😀

    stumpy01
    Member

    maccruiskeen – Member
    I appreciate that some brake lights are brighter than others. But are people honestly ‘dazzled’ by them?

    Yep.

    People who sit in traffic jams or at a level crossing with their foot on the brake – complete tools. Bit different if it’s slow moving traffic and you are in an auto, but to sit at a level crossing with your foot on the brake for 5 mins rather than putting the handrake on (and the car out of drive if an auto) just shows a lack of consideration.
    This has happened to me on occasion when driving back from night rides and I have debated the merits of getting my twin lumi’s out and aiming them at the mirror of the offending car in front. Never done it (‘cos if would be petty and stupid), but it has crossed my mind.

    As for sidelights – pretty pointless, apart from as ‘parking’ lights. The ones on my Ibiza are particularly feeble.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    I never had the need to keep my foot on the break on an automatic just simply put it in neutral and apply the handbrake or place it on park.

    As for the fog lights when turning a corner, they’re not fog lights and are great for lighting up blind area that headlights don’t catch. Handy for spotting pesky cyclists.

    swedishmatt
    Member

    I never realised being dazzled by break lights as an issue. I probably always sit with my foot on the break pedal if it’s an incline/decline (and possibly also if it’s flat?).

    Using the hand break seems to be a very british thing to do – but I’ve started doing it more so since i got hit from behind when stationary.

    Striving to not be a tool is always good – but I’ve never reflected on dazzling people with my break lights.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Penny has just dropped about the automatic comment. You mean in stop start traffic not stationary got you now.

    Premier Icon richmtb
    Subscriber

    My left or right “foglights?” turn on when I indicate.

    I’ve wondered how this works with the law on foglights which says they MUST NOT be used unless the visibility is less than 100m.

    My guess is through some technicality they aren’t considered foglights otherwise the manufacturer would be selling an illegal car.

    rwamartin
    Member

    I’m going to buck the trend here and say that I think the use of headlights during the day and dipped beam at night in built up areas is actually more dangerous than beneficial.

    In poor conditions it’s important to be seen and appropriate levels of lighting should be used in those situations. However in most daylight situations, or where there is adequate street lighting, the use of dipped beams is dazzling and/or spoils your night vision. It’s harder to judge the speed of oncoming vehicles and bright lights can make it harder to pick out cyclists/motorcyclists.

    I would not be surprised if a number of SMIDSY type accidents are due to the excessive use of lighting on cars.

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