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  1. Hello all, Please accept my apologies if my post is in the wrong place. I don't have a complaint as such, more a general observation that raises a safety issue across multiple vehicle manufacturers and I wanted to hear the thoughts of those on the forum. Over the past few years I've noticed a marked increase in the number of vehicles being driven in poor or dark conditions with no headlights on. Drivers failing to turn on their headlights when conditions dictate they should appears to have risen in line with the greater prevalence of cars on the road fitted with daylight running lights (DRLs). Until recently, both observations remained unconnected in my mind. My father recently took delivery of a new Kia Cee'd (an excellent car should anyone be tempted to look at one) and it's fitted with a DRL system. Suddenly the reason why so many motorists fail to turn on their headlights when conditions dictate they should has become clear - when the DRL system is active, i.e. when the headlights are switched off, the dashboard lights also illuminate! The effect is to remove the most effective visual feedback available to the driver that they haven't turned on their lights. DRL systems that I've encountered so far do one of two things when lights are switched on - they either extinguish completely or they dim. The effect is to remove the safety issue associated with ultra-bright lights dazzling oncoming traffic. Were that to be the only issue I would consider it more of an annoyance than a safety concern, however there's another, much more serious, issue associated with DRLs; they don't illuminate the rear of the car, so, if a driver fails to turn on his lights (easier to do now than ever because the dashboard is always illuminated) the rear of the car is in complete darkness. In these winter months where cars get very dirty very quickly, reflector lenses are rendered almost useless. I believe the issue is two-fold: 1. Illuminating the dashboard lights at all times removes a key visual indicator that a vehicle's headlights are not turned on. 2. DRL systems being fitted now are so large and so bright they illuminate the road surface at night, removing a further visual indicator that headlights are not switched on. Of course I would agree with anyone who said a driver should be in control of their vehicle, aware of the conditions and any actions required to drive safely in those conditions, that's a given, but observation reveals many drivers aren't. With the level of technology fitted to cars these days, even the smallest of cars, it seems like a dangerous oversight to me to allow this kind of situation to occur at all, and one that could be solved easily. I tried contacting RoSPA to ask who best to direct my comments to, however they responded by sending me a list of 'driving in the dark' tips, demonstrating, unfortunately, that they didn't read my email properly in the first place. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not trying to be a one-man-army to resolve what I believe is a serious issue, I'm just trying to highlight it and get others' thoughts. Fraser.
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