Concerns with the relative visibility of classic cars
Classic car enthusiasts are increasingly aware that with the growth of bright Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) on modern cars which have become much larger, not least from the growth in new SUVs and 4x4s, the relative visibility of a car like an MGBGTV8 is becoming a real concern. They are also aware that when you drive on UK roads today you sense that MGV8 is much smaller than many modern cars which seem to get larger and larger - not to mention the explosion of even larger SUVs and 4x4s. With the combination of these factors a classic car driver naturally feels concerned their car from the 1970s is less noticeable on a relative visibility basis and consequently is aware it can be less easy to see a classic car on the road or in a rear view mirror.

Here we set out concerns with the relative visibility of classic cars today highlighting a number of the factors contributing to reduced relative visibility and the available DRL options for an MGV8.
DRL options

Traffic volumes on our roads have
increased
in a major way over the last 10 to 20 years. More

Daytime running lights: everything you need to know. An online article from the RAC. More

Daytime running lights creating confusion for other drivers. See a petrolprices.com article. More

Guidance on dedicated daytime running lights from GOV.UK website. More

Car headlight bulbs explained by Which? magazine online. More


Posted: 200124
Daytime Running Lights have been around for 9 years
Since February 2011, all new cars and small vans in the EU must have dedicated daytime running lights (DRLs) to improve road safety - see an example alongside.

With most DRL installations the rear lights are not on when the DRLs are on
A survey by the RAC shows DRLs cause unintended confusion for some drivers because whilst all new vehicles must have daytime running lights at the front, they are not’t mandatory at the rear and this issue is what appears to be causing confusion and annoyance for some road users. Research by the RAC now shows that many drivers don’t turn on their dipped lights or sidelights in poor driving conditions, perhaps assuming because they have DRLs on at the front they also have rear lighting on as well. In an RAC Opinion Panel survey of 2,061 motorists, 62% said they saw cars and vans driving around in poor road conditions with lights on at the front of their vehicle but with no rear lights. Further research on drivers' awareness of DRLs on their modern car was potentially very worrying as it found many drivers are driving without any rear lights believing that because they have daytime running lights that switch on automatically at the front, they are also automatically on at the rear too. Not so.

What is relative visibility?
With an increasing proportion of cars on UK roads with bright front lights (DRLs) in daytime driving conditions

those vehicles, whether ahead or in rear view mirrors, tend to be more easily noticed by other drivers more by their daytime lights than by the body of the vehicle. Where another car with no DRLs is in the same field of view, there are growing concerns that cars without daytime lighting are becoming relatively less visible and as a consequence may not be "seen" at a critical moment by another driver. This is a particular concern for classic car drivers with no DRLs. What is relative visibility

Another relative visibility factor is the reduced relative size of classic cars when compared with modern cars . It's now over the 40 plus years since the MGBGTV8 was launch in 1973 and modern cars have become much larger on a relative size basis.
Why an MGBGTV8 feels smaller today

What are the daytime lighting options for classic cars?

Dipped headlights
Clearly the simplest option possibly with the use of upgraded halogen bulbs providing brighter daytime lighting. The additional benefit is that with dipped headlights for daytime use you also have rear lighting so if road conditions deteriorate, from road spray or mist, you will be visible to other road users behind you. See our articles for more details.
Daytime lighting options

Upgrading to H4 headlamps

DRLs in the headlamp
This option for retrofitting DRLs involves using a replacement headlamp kit, comprising a lens and reflector which has provision for a front sidelight bulb, where a DRL bulb can be used as a replacement.. If road conditions deteriorate the driver has to remember to turn on the dipped headlights so there is rear lighting. See our articles for more details.
Daytime lighting options
Fitting DRLs to an MGBGTV8

Separate DRLs
This option involves retrofitting a pair of DRL units available from Halfords or other autoparts suppliers. The typical location is in the front grille area. With rubber bumper MGBGTV8s an alternative location will be necessary. If road conditions deteriorate the driver has to remember to turn on the dipped headlights so there is rear lighting. See our article.
Daytime lighting options
Installing DRLs on an MGB