DRL flaw!!

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Main Forum' started by PRPrius, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. PRPrius

    PRPrius Active Member

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    Toyota has added an already existing flaw from the Corolla to the Prius. The low beam DRLs on vehicles without automatic headlights. When the current Corolla came out I immediately started to see a bunch of drivers driving around with their tail lights off. Completely oblivious to the fact since they could see the road because the low beams were on. A black Corolla on an unlit two lane road all but disappears from the back until you are getting very close to the car. If they are merging, specially without their turn signal on, it can catch you by surprise. I have started to see this happening with the Gen 4 Prius. The reason I am writing this post is due to the fact that I observed 5 different Prius drivers going around with their tailights off while I was running errands this evening. A lot of people buying a Prius and are new to it, most likely come from vehicles equipped with auto headlights. It's becoming more of the norm than the exception now days. I believe a combination of three design/engineering decisions contribute to this issue. This is especially true for drivers coming from vehicles equipped with autoheadlights.

    1) The use of the Low beams as DRLs
    2) The use of a digital instrument cluster or the analog gauges are backlit during the daytime (aka electroluminescent)
    3) The vehicle is not equipped with automatic headlights

    I recently spent two weeks in London on holiday and I noticed every Prius used the three LEDs bellow the fog lights for the DRLs. This goes along with the fact that every Gen 4 Prius I saw in London had the fog lights with the LED light unit below. They also had as standard equipment the Touring headlights (but that's for another wish list). I think Toyota needs to do away with the Low Beam DRLs or add auto headlights as standard equipment. You may think it's not possible because the driver should notice the climate and radio buttons are not lit up. However, when you get in the car and the low beams are on, you can see all of the displays lit up. It can fool you, a lot of people don't have to look at the radio or climate control buttons to use them. Then you add the fact that most of the time I control everything via the steering wheel buttons. It's more difficult to notice your tail lights are off on a car like the Prius. If it was my first car, a 1999 Altima then yes, I would notice immediately since the whole dashboard would be dark.
     
  2. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    Which country are you in - your profile is blank? Ours here don't use headlights as DRLs.
     
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  3. wrprice

    wrprice Active Member

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    I agree with you, here in the US. However, it's hardly constrained to the Corolla and Prius. I see that here with all kinds of makes and models.
     
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  4. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    It's normal for most vehicles. DRLs don't turn on the tail lamps. Chill out! If the driver is too stupid to turn on the headlamps, they are too stupid to turn on the headlamps, regardless of whether there are DRLs or not!

    It's NOT a "fault".
     
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  5. MrMischief

    MrMischief Active Member

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    I see this constantly in a wide variety of cars. I'm not really sure how to address it other than stop bubble wrapping the world for stupid people, maybe they'll start to die off. (or everyone gets automatic headlights) One thing I will note is that the Prius (and most other cars) don't truly use the low beam for the DRL in the US. It seems like it's a lower power version. If you go in your garage, turn on the DRLs, then turn on the low beam you'll see the low beam is significantly brighter. I'm not sure how the prius is doing it but many cars are now using a different light source for the DRL which withstands constant use better and directs the light at a higher angle than the low beams so it is more visible to oncoming traffic.
     
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  6. Coast Cruiser

    Coast Cruiser Senior Member

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    I believe all 2016 Gen4 Prii have auto headlights in the U.S. It's the first position on the light stalk.
    Mine says "Auto/DRL." It seems to work well, and I have the sensitivity setting on maximum.

    But I like to control the lights myself. I usually just turn the headlights all the way "On" before dawn, at dusk, and anytime it's raining. (I've never forgotten to turn them off. But if I do, supposedly they go off after 30 seconds.)

    My DRL's and low beams seem to be the same brightness. They use the same bulb. But it depends on the time of day. It's confusing.
     
  7. raspy

    raspy Senior Member

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    You should have come said hello - I could have shown you all the amazing features of the UK spec Gen 4 :)
     
  8. ems2158

    ems2158 Active Member

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    The flaw with the DRLs is particularly critical in the Corolla. I had a 2014 Corolla for 2 years. My wife I both mistakenly drove at night with only the DRLs on. It's not that we are stupid people, as someone suggested, it is a design defect! There is no noticeable brightness difference between the DLRs and normal headlights. They both use the same bulb but a bit dimmer for the DLRs.
    We have two cars that we alternate between every few days. The Prius has auto headlights, the Corolla didn't.

    When you switch from one car to the other, sometimes you forget that the headlights don't come on automatically. Since the Corolla has bright DRLs and no auto headlights, it is easy to drive off without the headlights on and only the DLRs with no taillights.

    For a few $ Toyota should have made auto headlights standard.
     
  9. Coast Cruiser

    Coast Cruiser Senior Member

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    But even the auto headlights sometimes you don't come on soon enough. That's why I just got in the habit, of simply turning the headlight switch all the way to "full on."

    That solved everything, for me.
     
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  10. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    On our Canadian 2010 Prius, the high beams are used as Daytime Running Lights, at much reduced brightness. There's no "headlight on" indicator on the dash when just the DRL's are on, and the dash is dark, no illumination. I'm not the most attentive guy, but that's plenty of clues for me.

    One thing that does bug me it's very easy to be driving around with just the parking lights on, especially in well-lit urban areas where the lack of headlights is not the at obvious. In that scenario you have the "headlight on" indicator, and the dash is lit. It'd take legislation to change that I guess.
     
  11. RCO

    RCO Senior Member

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    If the drls and headlight are causing a driver to worry, the solution is in their own hands. Use a mental checklist or use some form of reminder to confirm the correct lighting selection. If you can't be bothered, perhaps it's not as important to you as had claimed in the first place.
     
  12. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    It'd be interesting to find out why they didn't do what happened in Australian cars - totally separate from the headlights?

    We still don't know where the original poster is from either - I presume not Australia.

    20160815_130211.jpg
     
  13. Gen 2 Tom

    Gen 2 Tom Active Member

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    Yea this is common now to see cars with no tail lights on. Some even without headlights, That issue must be dashboard displays that are lit day and night. I run my lights in the first position, that is daytime running lights and automatic headlights. Seams to work well. Where is the sensitive adjustment for switching?

    The daytime lights use the main headlight, but just a little dimmer. It's hard to notice, as they are very white. I see it go from running light to low beam every day entering the Lincoln Tunnel. I can see it well on the back of the bus in front of me.
     
  14. robsnyder20

    robsnyder20 Active Member

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    I can tell you there definately IS a difference at least in the USA between DRL lights and the normal headlights as I turned down my street and shut off the headlights while in the garage messing around with something in the car and didn't turn it back to auto. The road and signs were lit but something was off and it wasn't bright enough. Flicked the switch and had my normal headlights back. I wondered the same thing myself but it must run less voltage to the lights during the day. I have noticed lots of people driving around with their DRL's only on with no tail lights for years, doesn't matter which type of car.
     
  15. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    While out driving today, I noticed many cars with DRLs - almost all of them were separate units like mine. It was only a few older cars with them in the headlight. The rules must be different here than USA?
    upload_2016-10-13_15-51-2.jpeg upload_2016-10-13_15-51-12.jpeg upload_2016-10-13_15-51-36.jpeg
     
  16. Coast Cruiser

    Coast Cruiser Senior Member

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    It's the same in the U.S., Alan. Most newer vehicles have separate LED DRL lights, as shown in your picture. Audi is very nice looking. So are the DRL's on newer Nissans. Cadillacs, Volvos, Porsche, and many others have separate DRL lights.

    My plain-jane Prius Three uses the low-beam for the DRL, at a slightly reduced brightness. (I don't have fog lights/DRL like yours.) I wonder if my headlights will have a shorter lifespan, because they are always on? But LED's last longer, supposedly.
     
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  17. GT4Prius

    GT4Prius Active Member

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    The issue is not just one for the driver, it affects other motorists as well if other cars have no rear lights showing at night and can't be seen.

    I agree that it seems an odd design aspect in a car that is so safety conscious it will apply the brakes for you, if it is not obvious when the lights are not properly on at night.


    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  18. bhtooefr

    bhtooefr Senior Member

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    I'd be for motorcycle rules - IG ON/Ready means you have full lighting whether you like it or not, and your only control is high vs. low beam.

    Come to think of it, I think you could do this on a Gen 4, really - IIRC, all lighting will shut off automatically, approximately 20 minutes after going IG OFF, so you could just leave the switch on full on.

    Another annoyance with the Gen 4's lighting: DRL Off on US cars isn't a momentary position. IIRC, GM cars with automatic headlights, their off position is momentary, and the car forgets you turned them off when you shut the car off. If you're going to use automatic headlights as the answer rather than just mandatory on headlights, at least make off a momentary position.
     
  19. RCO

    RCO Senior Member

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    It seems there is a lot of confusion about what Daylight Running Lights are. The reasoning behind them is to provide a bright indication to the front of the vehicle that can be readily seen by whatever it approaches. Nowadays, high intensity LCDs are often used in clusters which are brilliant enough to stand out even in bright sunlight yet lacking any specific focus except to the front. They are usually illuminated as soon as the ignition is switched on, but they they should automatically dimm if the sidelights or headlights are turned on but will relight when they are switched off. Also, when turn signals are in use the drl on the affected side will dim so that the flasher is not washed out by the glow from it! There are never DRLs to the rear of a vehicle, so it's probably best to forget about your own drls when you're driving and simply use your headlamps, or parking/sidelights when they are required whether that is by operating a switch, or leaving things to automatic sensor control.

    I really hope this explains things for you guys. But please don't worry yourselves about them in future. They are basically another health and safety initiative. (y)
     
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  20. mmmodem

    mmmodem Senior Taste Tester

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    Yeah, this is a common problem with the interior instruments lighting up. What really bothers is that my 1998 Corolla had DRL's and auto headlights standard. It had the old dual filament bulbs. I actually couldn't tell the difference between headlights and DRL's. But it didn't matter because they were automatic.

    Toyota had it right 18 years ago on one of their cheapest model cars.
     
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