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parking lights

The two most basic questions we’re going to answer today are: What are parking lights? And how do we use them properly? Did you know that your car should have sidelights? It’s required by law. Aside from that, these lights should also not be turned off when your car is already parked. Doing so in some areas would mean that you’re breaking the law.

Parking lots are small lights that are located either inside or outside of the headlight fixture. They are typically used when you encounter fog and bad weather. You may also use them during dusk or when the lighting outside is not yet dark enough to use headlights. They’re mainly used to illuminate your way when you find yourself in dim lighting. It’s best to leave the heavy-duty lighting to headlights.

You’ll know when your sidelights are on. It’s when you see red lights turned on in the rear light clusters, as well the lights that light up near the rear car plate number. When your car is on idle the sidelights also light up. Some countries may require your car to have your parking lights on when you’re at a lay-by or while your car is parked.

When Are My Lights in Use?

Now, not all cars have two parking lights. Some models have one parking light. This should be displayed on the side that is facing traffic. Should your car be fitted with this type of LED parking light feature, it usually makes use of the indicator stalk. This mainly allows the parking light to stay on when the key of the car is no longer in the ignition lock. Though in some cars you may choose this feature through a rotary sidelight switch. This allows for the parking light to be switched from either side of the car.

There are also some newer vehicles that have DRLs (daytime running lights) that automatically turn on as soon as your turn on your car. The sidelights will also stay on even when you turn the car off. DRLs were put into place after research showed that having such a feature permanently placed in your car would provide maximum safety during daytime driving. This is for mainly for drivers to see other drivers easily on the road. The only thing is that the tail lights won’t be turned on when DRLs are in use. Also, it must be noted that most manufacturers have taken up LED DRLs. This is because it helps cars stick out in a crowd. It really helps shape brand identity as well as enhance safety.

How Do I Really Use My Lights?

Cars that were made before the year 2011 will most likely require you to manually turn sidelights on. For you to find out whether you’ll be manually operating these lights, you can check by first turning your engine on (make sure your car’s in neutral). Then apply your handbrake. Quickly get out of the driver’s seat to go to the rear end of your car and check whether the sidelights are turned on or not. If you see that they’re not turned on, you’ll have to manually turn on the lighting column stalk or the selector knob. You’ll see this on the dashboard of your car.

Most of the newer car models have sensors that will automatically turn on your sidelights. Not only that, but these lights can adjust their brightness level depending on the light around you. To enable this particular function, your car’s setting much be placed on ‘A’ or the automatic position.

When Should I Really Be Using These Lights?

Let’s take a look into the UK Highway Code, specifically Code 249 as an example. It basically says that all cars should have their LED parking lights turned on when on the road or when at a lay-by when there is a speed limit that is greater than 30 miles per hour. However, there is no need for that if your car is actually parked in a parking lot or lay-by and it is, at the minimum, 10 meters from an intersection.

It must also be said for countries like the UK, for example, it is a legal obligation to have a set of LED parking lights that are fully functioning. So, when your car is going for its annual check, make sure both your lights are fully functioning. Without properly functioning parking lot lights you may have trouble getting back on the road as the Ministry of Transport will fail your car without them.