Daytime Running Lights

Daytime Running Lights UK Law & Regulations

A new daytime running lights law comes into force across Europe from February 2011. Read Car Electrical's handy guide for all you need to know about the daytime running lights law in the UK, and find out about how fitting daytime running lights could be a great way to upgrade your car.                       


Daytime running lights (sometimes referred to as DRLs or daylight running lamps) are low-wattage bulbs that are fitted to a car to

 improve visibility during daylight hours. The new daytime running lights law* means that all new cars must be fitted with the lights

 from 7th February 2011.

You may have already seen DRLs out on the road - many manufacturers such as Audi have already been fitting them to new

 models. They can usually be found just below the car's main headlights, and normally switch on with the vehicle ignition and off

 when the vehicle sidelights are turned on.


The answer is simple - these lights improve road safety during daylight hours. The lighting makes cars more visible to pedestrians crossing the road, and to other motorists.

In fact, studies carried out by the European Commission and the Department for Transport have both found that daytime running lights can reduce accidents and casualties during daytime hours.


New cars must be fitted with DRLs to comply with the daytime running lights law. However, many drivers have been fitting

 them to older cars to take advantage of their benefits. If you're going to do this, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Make sure the lights comply with safety standards
  •  ECE R87 so you can be sure they're street legal
  • Only use your DRLs during the day - they will dazzle other drivers at night
  • Most DRLs automatically switch off when headlights are turned on. 
  • If yours don't, make sure you manually switch them off when it gets dark


Although the daytime running lights law does not require existing car owners to fit DRLs, many drivers are choosing to add them.

Apart from the road safety benefits, the lights look stylish - because they're associated with new, high-tech models, 

loads of people are using them as a quick and easy way to upgrade their motors.

As more vehicles appear on the road with DRLs on, older vehicles will be at a disadvantage in terms of visibility. 

So it's expected that drivers with older vehicles will choose to add DRLs or will drive with sidelights or dipped headlights on.

The problem with driving with headlights on is that it increases fuel consumption - DRLs are a better option, 

as they're normally LED lights that consume less power. Some even have a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours.

Daytime Running Lights UK Law & Regulations