Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Tyler asks: Are pop up headlights not around because of the ability for a car to absorb impact or because all cars must have day time running lights?
My reply: As Ed McMahon used to say – you are correct, sir!
While DRLs are not formally required in the United States, they have become de facto standard equipment in almost all new cars sold here. Because these cars are also sold in countries (such as Canada) where DRLs are required. It’s easier – cheaper – for a car company to build a one-size-fits-all car than to build a car with two different lighting systems.
DRLs are in my view among the most counterproductive of saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety features. Ostensibly intended to make cars more visible, they make motorcycles and emergency vehicles and funeral processions less so. They increase glare – and visual clutter. They also waste energy – as it takes energy (gasoline) to power the additional load of always-on headlights.
Pop ups are also complicated, failure-prone and expensive. The mechanism has to work reliably several times each day; over time, that wear and tear inevitably leads to wearing out.
Also, most if not all modern cars now have complex headlight assemblies rather than headlights. Pop-ups generally used standard sealed-beam headlights. They could be designed to use assemblies, of course – but the design ethic has changed because assemblies can be designed in almost any shape/style to give a car a certain look. The chief stylistic advantage of pop-ups – a unique look – has largely been co-opted by the unique appearance of today’s headlight assemblies.
Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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