Driving without lights - cabsmanuk
I've lost count of the number of cars I have had to flash over the last 3 weeks who have been driving along with no lights at about 5 6 pm. Some of them have clearly gone quite a distance from any parking area and even when flashed they seem to have no idea why. Do these drivers never look at their dashboard? Do they not realise it's a little bit darker than usual in their car? Are they stupid?
Incidently I read that the Polish driver who caused the accident where the police stopped pursuit was driving without lights.
Driving without lights - chris p crisps ©
Do these drivers never look at their dashboard? Do they not realise it's a little bit darker than usual in their car? Are they stupid?

YES to all of them ,or their heads are so far up their ar**s that they do not know if its day or night.

Driving without lights - Trisha TR
Bag of spanners for brains the lot of 'em. Manufactures now put fit sensors to the car so that window wipers come on automatically (just in case the dunderhead sits there wondering why his vision is suddenly fragmented) so surely they can fit a sensor which measures light outside the vehicle and, if the engine is running, switches the lights on - or better still safely stops the car and then automatically slaps said driver about the face with an old halibut.

Speaking of which why can't cars, by default, have the fogs switched off when the car is first started or the lights come on. This will stop all those eejits who 'forget' and drive with their rear fogs on just because it was foggy on the last Thursday in October. Oh and while I moan about fogs... w@nk wagons (I think Landrovers escape on this one) really hack me off with their fog's mounted in with their main light clusters - just the right height to blind us proper drivers. Lets all get fogs fitted below the rear bumper -hoorah for Jap imports!
Driving without lights - volvod5_dude
I was driving up to Birmingham yesterday afternoon on the M5 from Worcester, it was raining, bad visibility and there were loads of idiots driving with no lights or just side lights. It makes me wonder what goes through the minds of these people (if anything)!

Driving without lights - volvod5_dude
Isn't there a EU law coming into force whereall new cars have to have day-running lights, like Volvos?

Driving without lights - Tom Shaw
Isn't it typical of the beaurocrats in the EU, all cars have to be like Volvos. Why not pass a more exciting law, such as all cars have to look like Ferraris?
Driving without lights - volvod5_dude
"Isn't it typical of the beaurocrats in the EU, all cars have to be like Volvos."

What's wrong with a law that makes cars more visible therefore making driving safer?

"Why not pass a more exciting law, such as all cars have to look like Ferraris?"

I thought Fiat Multiplas' were your bag!

Driving without lights - Tom Shaw
Beauty comes in many forms, VD5D.
Driving without lights - John S

Most modern Vauxhalls do exactly what you say - both the front and rear fogs are switched off when the headlights are extinquished, or the ignition is turned off, and don't reactive next time the headlights are used so they can't be left on for days after the mist has cleared. Seems obvious really doesn't it?

It hopefully caters for those who wonder what those little lights on the dashboard mean. Mind you so many seem to think that the word 'fog' combined with 'light' is some sort of acronym for 'drive around with these lights switched on all the time', so it's hopeless really.

As for high set lights - I had a new RR follow me for a few miles recently and those high set xenon headlamps are a menace! He was a bit close and every time the lights lifted with the bumps in the road, the inside of my car was lit up like daylight. Combined with the constant flashing in the mirrors it wasn't fun. Far worse than conventional lamps. And, yes, he had the fog lights on too!


John S
Driving without lights - chris p crisps ©
have to agree with you re the xenon headlamps realy anoying and on country lanes when meet head on you just cannot see a thing .when they aproach from the rear cause distraction.my elderly father is now unable to drive at night due to these blasted lights.

Driving without lights - Trisha TR
John S - blimey Vauxhall's have gone up in my estimation! It does seem such a simple thing to implement that all new cars should have the circuits as standard; surely this would be one of the more useful crusades for the beaurocrats to adopt?

By Xenon's I assume you mean those Audi/VW/Merc style headlamps rather than merely the aftermarket bulbs? I've fitted the bulbs as replacements to the standard Halogen ones in my wifes Mitsu Colt and (when she's followed me) they are marginally brighter they are not distracting or annoying in any way... this is due to the beam pattern being the same as those of a halogen. However on country roads I now drive constantly with my rear-view flicked to the 'low light' position due to the proliferation of the Xenon headlamp units (can't remember the term used - cylindrical beam or something?).

I quite agree with both of you (John S & Chris)that these headlamps are a complete menace, perhaps if I switch my bulbs to a 80/100 watt (rather than the standard 55/60or65) I can cause them grief too? I find my headlamps are fine for town/country roads and, if nothing is coming my way (on unlit roads), the high beam with driving lamps (not fog) is akin to driving behind stadia floodlights - ie more than adequate.

I'll bog off now and look forward to being blinded by inconsiderates on the way home - 30% of whom have probably consumed a couple of sherberts and though while, generally safe, probably won't dip their lights until they can see the badge on the front of my car.
Driving without lights - Flat in Fifth
As far as High Intensity Gas Discharge lamps as discussed elsewhere, the regs are that the either the lamps or the vehicle must be fitted with auto self levelling devices. Eg auto level suspension is OK.

The other reason why true HID lights cause problems is that they have an extremely sharp cut off, and so you go from no light to almost full intensity over a very narrow angle at the edge of the beam pattern. So meeting at a slight crest is the worst situation and nothing that you or the other driver can do other than both of you recognising the danger and driving accordingly.

Realise that might mean slowing down but, however unpopular that is with certain sour tongued factions, its certainly a better option than neither of you being able to see due to retaliatory flashes as suggested. Now that is being totally iresponsible.

Personally I have far less problem with dazzle from HID than badly aimed regular lights including the fog light brigade.

Also one reason why the blue "Xenon" imitation replacement bulbs can appear brighter is that the wavelength of the light is shorter and hence scatters more. This in turn means that the filament positioning is even more critical hence test results show that some of these replacement bulbs while they have more light output in absolute terms, less light gets to where its actually needed.

Philips bulbs get consistent high ratings, PIAA also, though not all types.

Driving without lights - John S

Yes, the sharp cut-off was exactly the problem. It's fine when your eyes are out of the beam pattern, but when this RR was following me, as the beam came in the back window, it was like being followed by someone flashing their headlights. Very annoying. If I'd much further to go I'd have pulled over and letting him pass.

As you say the same effect occurs when approaching cars coming up an incline - a problem with normal lamps never mind HID's. Whilst I agree it's easy to recognise the problem, and so there's no point in 'reminding' the driver, there is little the oncoming driver can do if they are already on dipped beam. It becomes the responsiblity of the 'blinded' driver to slow down.


John S
Driving without lights - Flat in Fifth
John S

Sorry bit slow in replying, been out and about and not online.

I'm sure, as you said in earlier post, a significant part of the problem with the RR lights was that he was a bit close.

My Mondeo is fitted with HID, and whilst they are OK, not totally sure they are worth the extra if actually having to pay. These were included FOC as a fleet offer from Uncle Ford as it happened. Not sure how cars with bi-xenons get on when selecting main beam. Just like domestic fluorescents there is a distinct second or two of warm up before full intensity is reached.

So, now speaking from the other side of the fence. I have actually found myself considering the situation where I might be causing a problem to oncoming drivers, eg left hand bend on a brow, where as you say normal lights would be as bad. Find that having considered the other driver's visibility might be impaired then I slow down too and probably keep a bit further left than otherwise.

Having said all that reckon the worst occasions when have probably dazzled someone is when on main beam and the opposing traffic is creeping along on dip. The brightness of one's own main beam masks the miniscule loom of the lights from the other direction and only when the lights themselves come into view can one know to dive for the dipswitch. If they are on main beam no problem, easy to dip before any problem caused.


Driving without lights - John S

Yes, the problem with the RR is the higher set lights, which makes 'a bit close' further away than normal cars if you see what I mean! I have to say I've not noticed the problem with normal cars fitted with HIDs.

As for the bi-xenons apparently they only use one light source, in conjunction with a moving shield. This shield blocks light from the 'main-beam' part of the reflector until main beam is selected. At this point the shield is moved by an actuator, and the beam patern changes. This avoids lighting up a second light source. Clever bit of lateral thinking, with a nod to the dipping systems of the 1930's depending how you look at it.


John S
Driving without lights - Cyd
My Rover 800 (1996) does the same, both front & rear fogs are on non-latching switches and default to off each time the lights are extinguished. i've got a feeling this is now mandatory - but, having just been made redundant, cannot check the relevant legislation to be sure.
Driving without lights - Dynamic Dave
John S,

Although Vauxhall electrics extinguish the fog lights when the headlights or ignition switch is turned off, it doesn't unfortunately stop the morons from pressing the fog light buttons again.
Take for instance the other evening, I was followed by a Zafira with front fogs on. I briefly gave a flash of my rear fogs to prompt/remind him that his front fogs were on. Totally ignored - so I flashed a few more times - still nothing. I then left my rear fogs on for a minute or two in the hope it might sink in to the moron behind me that he was dazzling me with his front fogs. Still they stayed on, but then followed by a repeated flashing of high beam from said moron. I eventually turned off the main road into the village I live in. Mr moron Zafira driver follows me. I pulled up into car park, and moron pulls up next to me - winds down his window and shouts "oi, your rear fog lights are on mate, they're dazzling me" To which I reply "yes, I flashed them a couple of times at you to prompt you to turn yours off MATE. As you didn't I left them on as you were dazzling me with yours" "Oh I always drive with them on" he replied. Before I could reply back, he drove off - still with fogs ablaze. It was then that I noticed his rear ones were also illuminated. I guess his baseball cap was either on the pasenger seat, or in the wash.
Driving without lights - John S

No, it doesn't stop the fog light morons, but at least we know who they are if they are driving Vauxhalls!


John S
Driving without lights - Arfur
>>>Do these drivers never look at their dashboard?

I've just aquired a Seat Leon and rather scarily the dashboard is illuminated whether the lights are on or off. I've caught myself without lights a couple of times now. Hopefully I'll get used to looking for the green "lights on" light instead of the dashboard.
Driving without lights - TrevorP
Dazzle is not directly related to brighter lights.

It is caused by either poorly adjusted beams OR

weakening of muscles at back of eye(s) - this is quite common with elderly drivers.

The original question was
"Why do some drivers NOT put on lights in poor visibility?"

the answer in part is, I am afraid, that they have not been taught to.
Driving without lights - Trisha TR
Dazzle is not directly related to brighter lights

Sorry Trevor but I disagree. While poorly adjusted lamps (heavy load without adjusting the beam down or minor collision etc) do cause dazzle so do brighter lamps. If this were not the case there'd be no legal issues regarding higher wattage bulbs. If I fitted 80watt (on dipped) instead of 55 watt and drove behind you, you would notice a marked difference. It would cause annoyance/irritation and they would dazzle you.

As Colin or Steve comments - when a vehicle with Xenon lamps travels over bumps behind you they do dazzle more than the equivalent Halgoen bestowed cars. And some of the new W@nk wagon with their higher lamp placement are worse still. I think I'll fit a HLBL to my vehicle, install a rear fog bulb and have it manually switched.... I'll just switch it on when some cheese gets too close - sure it doesn't help me but it'll ensure the annoyance is shared!
Driving without lights - Dave_TD
If the High-Intensity Discharge lamps are "3 times as bright as conventional halogen bulbs", as I have read, then how come these are legal, but 165w/180w halogens would not be??
I know all about the self-levelling electronics that have to be fitted to all cars with HID lamps, but judging by people's reactions on here that's not enough...
Driving without lights - Cyd
HIDs do not have to have self levelling. They have to be fitted with a means of levelling - this includes the manually operated dash mounted switch - which people either "forget" to use or don't realise what its for. This is true for all headlamps, not just HID.
Driving without lights - Dave_TD
I was under the impression that HID lamps, specifically, had to have electronic self-levelling built-in? Something that corrects their aim up to 200 times a second, IIRC. I thought this was part of what made them so expensive to specify as an option on a new car, and also so desirable to nick from nearly-new top-spec models. I have to say, I haven't noticed oncoming HID lamps bouncing around and momentarily dazzling me in the same way as halogens. However, when I am cresting a hill at the same time as a car with HIDs coming the other way, the blinding effect is much much worse than from halogens alone.

As an aside, 2 years ago you could rely on a distant pair of HIDs in your mirror late at night as being Plod, as anyone with a top-spec Merc or Omega would have long been tucked up in bed! Nowadays, every Tom Dick or Harry is out at 2am in his TT, M3 or X5. :-(
Driving without lights - Cyd
For the benefit of all the requirements of the relevant legislation are:

that all headlamp systems must have a means of levelling the passing (dipped) beam to compensate for vehicle load conditions.

the means of levelling may be automatic or manually operated

manual systems must be operable by the driver from the drivers seat

self leveling suspension is counted as an automatic means of lamp levelling.

No differentiation is made between halogen and HID systems.

What you find is that high end cars tend to have auto levelling lamps and being high end cars these are the ones that tend to come with xenons. There is no specific requirement for this to be so.
Driving without lights - volvoman
On my Volvo, the dash is illumiated at all times but of course the side lights are always on. I have no problem with this 'cos I never get caught out with no lights on but I would like a visual indication of the headlight status on the dash so there'd be illuminated icons for the dipped headlights and full beam. It doesn't happen very ofyen but this would make it harder to forget that I'm driving with just the sidelights on.
Driving without lights - Tom Shaw
By far one of the biggest pains are people who pull up on the right and leave their headlights on while they pick up or drop off passengers, or nip in for a pack of fags. If there are no other vehicles about I switch to main beam and drive past slowly to give them a dose of their own medicine.

The police should be much stricter on lights misuse, whether it is too much or too little.
Driving without lights - Dave_TD
I'll go with that one Tom, although generally they haven't got a clue that they're dazzling you! With my car going from fully laden to empty to partially laden to empty again 30 or 40 times in an evening I am well aware of how to use my headlamp aim control, but most of my colleauges aren't!
Driving without lights - superannuated rocker
I must agree with you about the idiots who park on the wrong side of the road and leave their headlights on. I live in Buckinghamshire where the local plod appear totally ignorant of the law. Approximately half the population park the 'wrong way round' at night and frequently compound the offence as mentioned above. My understanding of the law is that at night one must park so that your vehicle faces with the direction of traffic with its near side adjacent to the kerb on two way roads or with the direction of traffic on a one way road. It is also illegal to park with headlights on. In much of continental europe (ceratinly Germany) one must park the right way round at all times.
Driving without lights - Dynamic Dave
Do these drivers never look at their dashboard?

It depends on what these drivers are driving at the time. If it were a Citroen for instance, the dash lights used to come on with the ignition, not with the headlights. Not sure if Citroen or other manufactuers still do it that way though.

I too have lost count at the number of people I've had to flash at, or momentarily flicked the headlights off/on again to prompt them to turn theirs on. Might as well give up doing so though as the gormless looks I get from these morons who haven't the faintest idea why they've been flashed at. That's if they've actually noticed I've flashed the lights at them of course!!
Driving without lights - Bromptonaut
It depends on what these drivers are driving at the time.
If it were a Citroen for instance, the dash lights used
to come on with the ignition, not with the headlights. Not
sure if Citroen or other manufactuers still do it that way

On my 00/X Xantia they do not, a retrograde step from the BX where they did. Have given up trying to read the grey on grey km marks when driving in france and learned the conversions to miles instead. BX lights on produced the huge clue of a green headlamp symbol in the middle of the panel, can forget to light up in either car but not a function of the panel illumination.
Driving without lights - Shigg
On the subject of lights, how many people have noticed the proliferation of those washer jets that light up blue? I was under the impression that only very few types of vehicles could show a blue light, emergency services, etc. If this is the case what happens if you're in a collision with one of these 'tasty' motors and you complain to the Police, will they prosecute and will the other driver's insurance still be valid? I know I sound a little OTT about this but there's a number of drivers who panic when they see the slightest hint of blue light. Any thoughts?

Driving without lights - Cyd
my understanding is that these lights are legal - don't flash.
Driving without lights - Pugugly {P}
Legal as far as I can figure. The law does not recognise them so they may be unlawful as opposed to illegal. The only time they would specifically become illegal if they flashed or were a steady red.
Driving without lights - Dave_TD
I've seen cars with steady red LEDs on their washer jets...
Also, what about people who "colour code" their parking light bulbs to their car? I've seen green ones, blue ones and red ones. Would the same legal situation apply to those?
And then there's the plonkers on motorcycles with tinted perspex screens over their headlights, I have actually seen a RED one of these coming towards me late on a summer's evening...
Driving without lights - Flat in Fifth
Legal as far as I can figure. The law does not
recognise them so they may be unlawful as opposed to illegal.
The only time they would specifically become illegal if they flashed or were a steady red.

Spot on there Pug. Otherwise how could heavies get away with all their mini Christmas trees this time of year. ;-)
Driving without lights - Dwight Van Driver
Only restriction on colour of front light is at:

Reg 11 Road Vehicles Lighting Regs 1989.

No vehicle shall be fitted with a lamp or retro reflective material which is capable of showing a red light to the front except:

Red and white chequered doomed lamp, beacon used by Fire Control vehicle at an incident.

Side marker lamp or side retro reflector.

Reflective retro material/reflector designed to reflect light from the sides of a vehicle and attached to or incorporated in any wheel or tyre of
Pedal cycle
Motor cycle
Invalid carriage.

or a Traffic Sign.

Interesting as I have been out and about White vanning it leading up to Xmas and noticed some heavies are trundling about with two constant blue lamps in the front windscreens. First thought it was plod about. Seems these are lawful but misleading.

Driving without lights - borasport20
Red and white chequered doomed lamp, beacon used by Fire Control

woe, woe ! we're doomed, thrice doomed !

Driving without lights - Flat in Fifth
Just in case anyone gets confused and thinks colour of lights is almost a free for all we are, at least hope we are, discussing extra lights eg the illuminated washer jets.

The colour of obligatory lamps is defined in the regs as mentioned by DVD, but you need to look in Part IV schedule 1 which defines obligatory lights and then in the later schedules to see what is defined for that particular light, eg sched 2 front position lights, sched 3 dim-dip and running lights and so on.

Just a clarification.
Driving without lights - Shigg
Well I didn't realise it was such open ended legislation, god knows what we'll be seeing next!

Driving without lights - RichL
My personal bugbear is high-intensity brake lights and people who sit at the traffic lights with their foot on the brake rather than using the handbrake.
I was stuck behind a Ford Explorer a week or two ago who did this : it was like being zapped with a laserbeam. When the lights finally went green it was a few seconds before I could see well enough to drive.
Driving without lights - Dave_TD
Try going on a long motorway journey at night, you'd be surprised at the variety of additional lights on lorries! Everything from yellow non-dazzling "running lights", in 2s, 4s, 6s or more, through banks of spotlights mounted above windscreen and above front bumper, to yellow or green LEDs tracing out the make of lorry! The best one I've seen so far has to have been a new model Volvo truck with 6 spotlights on the top of the cab and 4 above the front bumper, ALL with sidelight bulbs fitted, and the whole of the front of the cab (including the diagonal Volvo bar, AND the door mirrors) picked out in hundreds of yellow LEDs. You also find them with a light mounted on the roof of the cab, shining upwards to illuminate the freight company logo on the wind deflector...
Driving without lights - BrianH
If you have an engine running you are likely to move.
I would like to see all cars fitted with daylight running 21w bulbs front, back, and side (white:red:amber)to indicate that a car is (about to move) moving.
Headlights (55w) can be too bright if not adjusted correctly. But headlights are better than no lights and 'parking lights'.
DTD I saw that lorry south of Bath at 0500hrs. Brightened up the day.......


Value my car