We are in the so-called dark months of the year. Seen in that light, it is not surprising that there has been a lot to do about car lighting lately. For example, the ANWB received many reports that the rear lights of modern cars are not always on. In addition, modern cars would blind too much. An explanation of car lighting.

Since 2011, new cars have been provided with daytime running lights without exception. Audi started it a little earlier, namely with the introduction of the A6 of the 4F type. At an additional cost, the model introduced in 2004 could be fitted with LED daytime running lights, which is the norm today.

Many manufacturers turn daytime running lights into true pieces of art, such as the 'slaughtering teeth' of the Peugeot 208, 2008 and 508. Nevertheless, the lighting is primarily intended to increase visibility.

For cars from before 2015, the rear lights do not always light up when daytime running lights are active, which led to a lot of reports to the ANWB about poor visibility earlier this month. Since 2015, the rear lights must also come on when daytime running lights are active.

You could see the daytime running lights as the replacement of the so-called city light. When using city light, you drive with the rear lights and license plate light on, while you only have two small lights on at the front.

Many brands, including Peugeot, pay a lot of attention to daytime running lights. (Photo: Peugeot)

Incorrectly adjusted low beam can blind

Although especially the LED daytime running lights are very bright and ensure good visibility, you need to use the so-called low beam in the dark. This car lighting actually gives you a better view. The green icon of the lighting appears with the beam pointing downwards in the instruments. When driving low beam, the rear lights and license plate light also illuminate. Low beam is set in such a way that you do not blind the other traffic, hence the name.

Yet many people drive in high beam without realizing it, blinding the emerging traffic or the vehicle in front. If the high beam is switched on, the set of instruments displays a blue icon with the beam pointing forwards.

Not only high beam is blinding, the same applies to incorrectly adjusted low beam. If the vehicle is heavily loaded in the rear, it is advisable to adjust the low beam. Unless the car has automatic headlight adjustment of course.

Make sure that you adjust the low beam properly when loaded. (Photo: Kia)

Daytime running lights sometimes too bright

Low beam is perhaps preferable to daytime running lights, the ANWB announced last week. Based on its own research, the association concluded that daytime running lights are in many cases very bright and sometimes even twice as bright as low beam.

A few things can also be said about modern low beam, said the ANWB. One model even had a headlight that at 20 centimeters distance gave a bundle that is "three times as bright as a glance in the sun".

Some cars already have technology on board - such as matrix lighting - to limit nuisance for oncoming traffic. This can for example be done by dimming a part of the bundle when oncoming traffic is signaled.

A less advanced solution is the so-called adaptive high-beam assistant. This system uses the cameras on board to temporarily switch off the high beam when an oncoming car is detected. The high beam is then automatically switched on again.

Daytime running light, however bright sometimes it may be, does not replace fog lamps. These may be switched on if, for example, rain, fog or snow obstructs the view. Consider, for example, a situation where the visibility extends to 200 meters. Only when the visibility is less than 50 meters, can the rear fog light be on.

The light beam from modern cars extends further and further. (Image: Audi)