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An RV in Alaska with running lights on. Image: Pexels.
Daytime running lights installed below the headlight.

Daytime Running Lights. Image by Peter Mercer.

Daytime running lights: an illuminating look at the facts.

Across the globe, daytime running lights (DRL) are a lot more common than you may think. They have been a mandatory feature on all vehicles imported into Canada since 1989. Finland led the world in the mandatory adaption requirement of these in 1972. So why has this feature been a must in some countries yet not in others?

The Canadian authorities cited studies indicating that these lights made vehicles more visible to oncoming traffic and to pedestrians. I think there is probably little to argue about that observation. U.S. transportation officials, however, have voiced concerns that the light from daytime running lights caused glare during some daylight conditions and, in addition, reduced the visibility of the required motorcycle lighting.

Today, there are many vehicles that are equipped with daytime running lights throughout North America, including some motorhomes. Daytime running lights need not be bright, like that of the intensity of low beam headlights. Their light only has to be visually distinguished from a reasonable distance.

Lightening Up

This is not a factory-only installed feature. daytime running lights aftermarket kits are available for just about any vehicle. There are various ways they are controlled, such as ignition on, park brake off, engine running, headlamp switch in off position, etc. In most cases, installation is not difficult and can be done by your local RV service shop, If you’re handy, adding running lights can be a great D.I.Y. project.

There are basically two configurations to choose from: using the existing lights and installing the wiring and a control module, or you can install additional light sets with a controlling module relay. The later can be fitted with L.E.D. (light emitting diode) lights and can update the look of your vehicle. There are many DRL kits available from online retailers or at your local automotive supply store.

So, if you have been looking for a new do it yourself project, this may be the one. Not only will it make your RV more noticeable on the highway, but it might make it look like a new rig.

Oh, and when you make that visit to Canada, your lights will come in very handy, indeed!

Peter Mercer – Making your RV stand out