Question: You ever been cruising down the road at night & found yourself behind a Nissan Rogue, Altima, or a Jeep Compass without their lights on? It’s a frustrating and all-too-common scenario. And the culprit is often a driver who can’t differentiate between their Daytime Running Lights (DRLs)… and their actual headlights.

Daytime Running Lights (DRLs)

Are designed to be ON whenever the engine is running, providing additional visibility to other drivers during daytime hours. Keyword: Daytime… it’s in the name. DRLs are a standard safety feature that’s become mandatory in many parts of the world. However, they are NOT headlights, and they do NOT illuminate the rear taillights. Therefore, when dusk falls, it’s time to turn your headlights on dummy. Most newer cars have an option to do this for you automatically, so I really don’t see where such confusion arises.

It points to a glaring inconvenient truth that needs to be acknowledged & confronted…

That is: Tech is NOT creating more aware & more capable drivers. Rather, what it’s creating, is a tech dependancy. And all the ‘added safety’ these features tout… comes at a tradeoff in basic driver proficiency & ability. Listen up: You can’t fix a tech dependency, with more tech. Just like you can’t teach a child to ride a bike with no training wheels… by adding another set of training wheels. Yet that’s the road the automotive industry seems to be taking.

daytime running lights

Maybe… they’re rental cars??

That would explain the lack of awareness. Cars like Nissan Rogues, Altimas, & Jeep Compasses are typical rentals. Or – maybe the valet killed the lights when they parked the car, and the owner just hasn’t figured it out yet. I’m just trying to play devil’s advocate here. Many modern vehicles have gauges & infotainment screens that are so brightly illuminated, it’s easy for drivers to overlook the fact that their headlights aren’t on. Plus – the DRL’s on some of these vehicles are obnoxiously bright, almost bright enough to drive at night. But the other day, I helped a man at a hotel who owned a Jeep Compass & legit did not know that his DRLs were not his headlights. I flipped the real headlights on for him, and blew his mind. He was appreciative… and an idiot lol.

As we move towards an increasingly automated & sensor-driven automotive landscape…

It’s time for automakers & legislating governments alike, to address the elephant in the room. And that elephant… can be found 2-paragraphs up.

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