What Are Daytime Running Lights?


Many late-model vehicles feature daytime running lights. These headlights are activated at all times while driving, even when the headlight switch is in the "Off" position. Most manufacturers equip their vehicles with daytime running lights as an added safety feature since having the headlights illuminated in the daytime, ideally, will make other drivers more aware of your car on the road.

Conventional Headlights

  • Conventional headlight setups without daytime running lights are only activated and deactivated with the headlight on/off switch. When the headlight switch is turned on, the dash gauge lighting system is also illuminated, allowing you to read the gauges at night. However, in the daylight, illuminated gauges can be more difficult to read, so drivers are more inclined to leave the headlight switch off during daytime driving.

Daytime Running Lights

  • In most vehicles equipped with daytime running lights, the headlamps turn on when the engine is started and the parking brake is deactivated. This allows for the headlights to be illuminated while the dash gauges are not, making it possible to have the headlights running in the daylight without compromising gauge visibility.


  • Automobile manufacturers and proponents of daytime running lights claim that having the headlamps illuminated at all times increases the vehicle's visibility to other drivers. With increased visibility, automobile accidents are less likely to occur as drivers will be more alert and aware of other vehicles on the roadway.


  • Opponents of daytime running lights claim that the lights make for a more cluttered and distracting roadway. Drivers are more likely to be distracted by the illuminated headlamps of oncoming vehicles. Also, when the majority of cars in a dense traffic situation are utilizing daytime running lights, glare from the lights can create driver visibility issues, especially on a sunny day.

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