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The European Union are currently planning to make the use of Daytime running car lights compulsory on all new vehicles by 2011. The driving force behind this new ruling are studies that have shown daytime running car lights reduce day light crashes by up to 12% for cars and 10% for motorbikes. However, it is true to say that not all safety or environmental groups are happy with this proposed new ruling, so what are the pros and cons of keeping your car lights on in the daytime and can it benefit you.Rules on daytime running car lights first appeared in 1977 when Sweden became the first country to adopt this new safety feature. Due to the low levels of ambient light experienced during the day, other Scandanvian countries soon followed suit and now daytime running car lights are compulsory in Finland, Norway and Iceland.Failure to see the other vehicle is cited in 50% of day time road traffic accidents, with this figure rising to up to 80% for collisions that occur at road junctions. One of the reasons why daytime running car lights are believed to have the ability to reduce road accidents, is that a vehicle with its lights on appears closer than it actually is. Resulting in drivers being less likely to take a risk when pulling out of a turning or attempting to overtake in the face of oncoming traffic.Critics of compulsory daytime running car lights say that they put more vulnerable road users at risk and increase fuel use and ultimately the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Most motorcyclist already use their dipped beam headlight during the day to clearly indicate their presence to other drivers, and it is feared that if every vehicle has its lights on this effect may be lost. It is also a concern that pedestrians crossing the road could be masked by the glare of daytime running lights.So if you are now contemplating driving during the day with your car headlight bulbs or sidelight bulbs on, what is the best way to make sure you get all of the benefits whilst also saving the planet at the same time. The first decision to make is which type of lights you are going to use as your daytime running lights. Are they going to be your dipped beam headlights bulbs or your sidelight bulbs?If you are thinking of using your dipped beam headlights then you are going to find that you will need to replace them more often, as most standard headlight bulbs only last around 400 hours. You would benefit from switching to long life headlight bulbs, which can last for over 1000 hours. Two of the leading long life headlight bulbs are the Osram Light@Day range, which last up to three times longer than ordinary halogen bulbs, whilst the Philips Eco Vison last two times longer and use 20% less energy.Alternatively you could use your sidelight bulbs as your daytime running lights, however in most vehicles you will find that the standard sidelight bulbs are not bright enough. Factory fitted sidelight bulbs are filled with a basic inert gas, however if you fit upgrade sidelight bulbs which are filled with halogen or xenon gas you will find they are up to three times brighter, and will stand out more clearly to other road users. For the more adventurous driver, you could fit LED sidelight bulbs, these upgrade car bulbs will fit your existing bulb holders and have a super bright chip LED which produces a really intense light, whilst also drawing less power and hence improving fuel consumption.The safety evidence for daytime running car bulbs is certainly very compelling, and with their use soon to become law on new vehicles, now might be a good time to consider using you car lights during the day, especially in low ambient light conditions. The development of low energy long life headlight bulbs, sidelight bulbs and high performance LED lights will also mean that using your car lights during the day, won't have an adverse effect on your running costs.
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