Edmunds Says Your Headlights Might Not Be Turned On

Have you been driving lately and seen more drivers than usual with the headlights switched off? A lack of headlights can be blamed on modern technology, according to Edmunds. One of the easy solutions to this problem is to ensure your personal vehicle has illuminated headlights before heading out at night.

Edmunds thinks the headlight issue is a simple fix

Edmunds says your headlights might not be on
Four wheeling SUVs on the beach at dusk | John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

There seem to be a lot of drivers on the road without headlights illuminated these days. If you have seen this phenomenon lately, a few things are usually happening. While the headlights and the taillights might be off on the vehicle’s exterior, the inside is illuminated. Edmunds says this also usually means the daytime running lights are on when this happens.

It can be an easy mistake to make in the era of fully-digital instruments and touchscreen everything. While the interior dashboard lights and infotainment screen are on and the daytime running lights (DRL) illuminate the road, one can assume everything is working correctly. These DRLs can even reflect on cars in front of you, further cementing the idea that your lights are on.

However, these daytime running lights don’t fully light up the road like actual headlights. The DRLs resemble older headlight beams that tend to run a bit yellow and might not fully illuminate the road. A quick check of the headlights might show that the lights are in the off position.

Canada is forcing automakers to dim other lights until the headlights are on

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The interior lights would not turn on back in the day if the exterior lights were not on. That was a good indication something was amiss if you missed the headlights. But now, it seems everything is lit up like a Christmas tree at all times, thanks to the ever-changing digital landscape. There are lights everywhere between the dashboard lights, the infotainment system, and the glowing ambient lights throughout the cabin. With the daytime running lights illuminating the road in front of you, albeit not well, who wouldn’t be confused about headlights?

Earlier this year, Drive reported that authorities in Canada want regulations to stop the problem in its tracks. “Many drivers are often unaware their headlights are switched off at night because the instrument cluster on modern cars normally displays whenever the engine is running.” Canada has started requiring automakers to disable the instrument cluster lights until the headlights are on.

That seems to have helped the problem in Canada for now, but not everywhere else. Will the U.S. and the rest of the world do something like this to help get headlights back on the road?

You can be a part of the solution!

If you have a modern car (or any car), check to make sure your headlights are set to “auto.” That’s it! Well, sort of. There should be some sort of illumination on the dashboard that indicates your lights are on. Check for that, too.

Suppose you happen to see someone with the headlights and taillights off while driving at night, you can remind the driver. You don’t have to remind other people, though; you can focus on your personal vehicles. Tell your friends and family to check that the headlights are on for other cars as well. Switching the headlights to “auto” should solve the problem for most people.

New cars are smart, but not smart enough. Ensuring everyone has the headlight settings switched to auto will make all cars on the road more visible. So check your headlights next time you head out for ice cream after dinner. Who knows, maybe you can help someone else have a safer ride home, too.

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