See and be seen! Daytime running lamps

Visibility is key to reaction time; it is critical to see and be seen.  That’s why daytime running lamps are a compulsory standard of so many European countries, and not reliant on a driver’s judgement on when to switch on headlamps in varying light conditions.


Daytime running lamps are not compulsory in South Africa. Regulation 161 A (1) states that they may be fitted to any motor vehicle except a trailer inside the following dimensions:


q  They must be not less than 250mm or 1,5m above the ground,

q  They must be positioned frontwards so that the lamps will not cause uncomfortable glare for the driver either directly or indirectly through rear-view mirrors or any other reflecting surface


Daytime running lamps must also be connected so that they switch off when headlamps are switched on except when flashing the headlamps as a warning signal. They must also be wired so that the rear lamps operate at the same time.


A daytime running lamp is not a safety substitute for a fog lamp, this is covered separately under Regulation 163 and fog lamps may not be used in place of daytime running lamps. Regulation 163 (6) states: No person shall operate on a public road, a motor vehicle while any fog lamp fitted to such vehicle is lit, except in conditions of poor visibility caused by snow, fog, mist, dust or smoke.

We can look forward to the day when daytime running lamps become a compulsory standard on South African roads. See and be seen!