What Does DRL Mean In A Car?

DRL is an acronym for ‘daytime running lights.’ Daytime running lights are a safety measure to make your vehicle more visible in traffic. They are especially significant in low light situations, for instance, driving through a tunnel, under bridges, or at dusk or dawn. Your daytime running lights are there to keep you from getting into an accident.

The DRLs are not there to help you see where you are going. They are there to help other drivers see you. When functioning normally, they will activate when your ignition is turned on. Generally, when your headlamps are activated, the daytime running lights will emit dimmer light. They are brighter when your headlamps are off.

Daytime running lights first became mandated in Scandinavia. During the winter months, it stays dark most of the time in the Scandinavian countries, and daytime running lights made sense. The safety benefits are far more significant there than in the U.S. They still have safety benefits in the States, but there is no substantial decrease in accidents. However, some studies suggest that DRLs for motorcycles do positively affect motorcycle traffic safety ratings.

There have been safety concerns with high power running lights. The U.S. Department of Transportation receives thousands of complaints about glare. Motorcycle safety experts claim putting DRLs on cars and trucks reduces the efficacy of running lights on motorcycles. The biggest complaint about DRLs is the high-intensity glare experienced by other drivers. The debate is ongoing.

How Do Daytime Running Lights Work?

In a nutshell, you could say that your daytime running lights are your low beam headlights that come on during the day. When they are on, it increases the visibility of your vehicle. Most of them are activated by a computer module and a sensor that recognizes ambient daylight. Sometimes they will come on automatically when you turn on your ignition.

They usually run on lower power than your headlamps. Sometimes they are positioned as a strip of LED lights near or over your headlights. They might also be your low-beams, fog-lights, or special lights that run at a lower power level.

They first appeared in the United States on imports. Eventually, they made their way to cars built and sold in the U.S., and they have been around for some time now. They were originally mandated in Canada as essential in 1989, and they are standard on most vehicles nowadays. They were approved by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 1993.

They switch on and off automatically and dim when your headlights are activated. They do add a level of safety and protection to drivers. Some states require lights on when you are driving through a road construction zone or a tunnel. Some people suggest they could reduce your standard headlights’ longevity, but most people feel it is worth the risk for the added safety.

What Does It Mean When My DRL Light Is On?

As with any specific features on an automobile, you should read your owner’s manual to make sure you fully understand the functionality of various warning and indicator lamps. Typically, the DRL indicator lamp informs you if your car’s daytime running lights are on and operating within their expected parameters. Usually, it will turn on when you start your car and shut off in a few seconds or after you take your foot off the brake pedal. If the DRL lamp stays on for an extended period, it could mean there is a burned-out bulb or some other issue with your running lights.

If you are driving and the DRL warning light comes on, it usually means the computer has detected an issue. It could be a bad bulb or something else involving the fuses or relays in the DRL circuits. It should be noted that on some vehicles, the DRL lamp will stay on the entire time your running lights are in operation. Again, consult with your vehicle owner’s manual for clarification.

There are common issues that arise as malfunctions in a running light system. It could be that your DRL indicator lamp is functioning correctly for your car, but the lights themselves are not. Another problem is that your daytime running lights work fine while driving, but they do not turn off when you stop the engine. In some vehicles, the running lights use the same bulbs as the headlights. If one or more headlights go out, one or more of your running lights could go out. It could also be that your DRL warning lamp module is malfunctioning.

The only thing you need to do may be to change out a bulb or perhaps a fuse. Or the problem could be more complex and require an expert technician to look at your car. You might want to stop by an auto parts store and ask them to give you some suggestions. They may be able to connect your car to a diagnostics computer and give you a better idea of the problem. On many occasions, it may turn out to be a simple issue that is easily solved.

On the other hand, you may need to take your car to a certified mechanic. If the problem has to do with something like faulty or damaged wiring, they will have the right equipment and tools on hand to address the issue accordingly. They can get the job done for you, and you can get back on the road safely.

In Conclusion

The daytime running lights increase your car’s visibility during the day, which helps keep other drivers aware of where you are and helps keep everyone safe. Make sure you perform regular maintenance and keep your lights clean and free from debris like bugs or leaves. Always have fresh bulbs on hand in case of an emergency and know how to change them out if such a situation should arise. Always consult your owner’s manual first. Having your daytime running lights in tip-top condition is essential, both for safety and for having a good looking vehicle profile.