Thread: Headlights Use

  1. #1
    FireMedic38
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Headlights Use

    As a driver of emergency vehicles I feel the use of headlights at ALL times is a great way to reduce the risk of an accident. I am trying to persuade my department to write a policy requiring headlight use any time a vehicle is on the road. I would like some data to back this up but have not found much. Can anyone help?

  2. #2
    LFD Dist. 63
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In our Dist. we use our headlights on every call weather responding or returning, even if the reduce speed is ordered we keep the headlights on but turn all overheads and strobes off.
    It is better to be seen than not to be seen and get into an accident
    Also the automotive industry wouldn't be offering it on new vehicles (daytime running lights) if it wasn't worthy of saving a few lives.
    Plus most insurance companies give the insured a credit towards the premium for vehicles that are equipped with the daytime running lights.

  3. #3
    Ward Watson
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    I'm glad you started this discussion. I was thinking of the same thing this morning. In the paid department I'm on, it's seems to be left up to the driver. I have been pushing to get this as a requirement. I have one individual that continues to go around and turn off the headlights on all the units. When I asked him why, he really doesn't have a good reason. Because of this I've had to ask him several times to leave "my truck" alone. I would like to get some info or stats on this subject. I agree that it is much safer to drive with the headlights on all the time. Again, thanks for starting up this discussion.

  4. #4
    ProfVol
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I personally don't see where running headlights all the time makes a vehicle safer (in good weather, bad weather turn on everything). As mentioned vehicles are being built with daylight running, so in the future it will be normal to see all vehicles with lights on. This is will reduce the effect of having the lights on, I believe. Drivers (not the good ones, the ones that always say that they did not see the big red flashing fire truck) will still do stupid stuff. I disagree with watson on the leaving the lights on when the truck is parked in the station. This will result in additional load on the battery during startup (yes, I know that the load should be minimum compared to the batteries capacities, but every little bit helps.) I personally like turning on what device I want, that way I know for sure what is on at all times. It reduces confusion. It is our station policy to turn off everything when parking in the station. These are my opinions and are not meant to bash anyone.

  5. #5
    jeffk
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    My 2 Cents.....

    It may not be easy to find any scientific data on the value of running with headlights on. It may interest you though that Canadian law since 1990 (approx) has stated that all new vehicles sold in Canada or imported and subsequently regiseterd in any province in Canada must have operable daytime running lights. For those unaware of the workings if daytime running lights, they are the high beam filiment of the normal headlight running at a slightly lower voltage. Most vehicles built for the US already have this capability, although they require that a bypass plug be removed and a module installed in it's place. There are however small modifications required to run these lights where emergency lighting flashers are also used on the headlights.

  6. #6
    Pizan
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    ALRIGHT! I thought I was the only "nut" on a department this idea. It is a great pet peeve of mine not having your headlights on. I preach this every shift day, but the guys on my shift still don't do it. I have to tell them constantly to turn on the headlights. I agree w/ FM38. Have the lights on all the time. It does increase the visibility of your vehicle, even on sunny days. I have also been harping on my S/C about getting this done as a policy, as usual no luck, but I won't give up! KEEP THE LIGHTS ON!

    [This message has been edited by Pizan (edited May 23, 2000).]

  7. #7
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    At least as far back as the mid-1980s, our SOGs for engineers have contained the following section:

    "Upon returning apparatus to station, the engineer shall leave the apparatus as follows: radio "on", lighting master "on", energency lights "off", headlights "on", ignition switch "on", cole-hearse switch "off", parking brake "on", transmission in neutral, and land lines connected."

    We've never had a battery failure because of this, and everyone always knows exactly what is "on" and "off" from the start.

  8. #8
    Joseph Mowery
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Our department has required the use of headlights at all times. Doesn't
    matter if it is daylight or not. I turn
    on the lights before releasing the brake.
    Just a habit of mine.

  9. #9
    Ten8_Ten19
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Daytime headlights is a fine idea although I frequently disremember them.

    This topic also reminded me of one of my pet peeves; apparatus operators who set up in the left lane on scene at night (facing traffic) and leave their headlights on. People coming at us dazed and confused by red lights and trying to gawk at the scene are dangerous enough, blinding them with our headlights is suicidal.

    Be Safe.

  10. #10
    FireMedic38
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Talking

    I originally posted this topic. I have since submitted a proposal to the A/C of Operations within our department requesting a policy be written. It was well received by all the administration. Our insurance company (VFIS) recommends that headlights be used at all times and gives data supportting my statement that vehicles are more visible. I also recommended that the headlight flashers be used during daylight hours. I agree that at nighttime they can blind oncoming traffic. I agree with the above statement and turn everything off when the vehicle is parked (except the radio) due to the load on the batteries at start up. I'll let you know when a policy is written in our department.

    ------------------

  11. #11
    Davidjb
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    When I drive I always make sure the lights are on. At night I will turn off the headlights on scene but not the parking lights.

    ------------------
    David Brooks, Firefighter, D/O, 1st Resp.
    http://www.NewmarketNH.com/fire
    Newmarket Fire & Rescue
    Newmarket, New Hampshire

  12. #12
    Resqmedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    On all our older ambulances & ford L/T rescues older than 1999) we could just leave the lights on all the time, the battery switch would turn them off when the truck is not in use. On the 2000 f350 ambulance we just got that is not so, the ignition and dash lights are seperate from the battery switch. I guess it's a ford warranty thing, but it means lights stay on regardless of the switch. So you might keep this in mind when making new SOP's, alot of our medics were not paying attention and killing it's battery.

  13. #13
    Aerial 131
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Talking

    Both my department have SOG that headlights will be on all the time, regardless of conditions, night or day. It makes the other driver see you better. Lots of new cars have daytime lights, just a matter of time till they are placed on engines as standard safety gear.

    ------------------

  14. #14
    CAP182
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    YOUR ? IS WERE TO FIND SUPPORTING INFO TRY LOOKING AT YOUR CAR MANUFACTURES THEY STARTED MAKING ALL VEHICALS WERE THE HEAD LIGHTS COME ON AS SOON AS YOU TURN ON THE KEY. AS FOR MY DEPT. WE ARE VOL. AND IT IS A UNWRITTIN SOP THAT YOU SHOULD TURN YOUR HEAD LIGHTS ON EVEN DURING THE DAYTIME, AND I AGREE. IT WILL MAKE YOU MORE VISABLE TO OTHER DRIVERS. JUST MAKE SURE TO TURN THEM OFF WHEN YOU RETURN TO QUARTERS.


    REMEMBER: STOP, LOOK, AND LISTEN !!!

  15. #15
    NEOgreg
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    I definately concur with the "pro headlight faction" herein---you can't have too much visibility.

    The question that I have is my area the only one with the following phenomenon, or is it more or less nationwide: you respond to a call "hot (every bell, whistle, sparkler, etc. going)" and practically everyother driver sometimes acts totally oblivious to your presence, but when you're returning (or even just driving to the pumps to fuel the rig) and have only your headlights on, people slow down, pull over, and even stop completely while driving as you pass.

    Am I just the only crazy one or has anyone else witnessed this?

    Additionally, the latest NFPA spec on apparatus lighting requires that all white lights (in the emergency warning packages) shut-down with activation of the truck's parking brake. This is to reduce the "dazzle effect" which can blind oncomming drivers. As a rule, I do try to cut out the headlights when parked at night if the illumination isn't otherwise needed (just leaving the parking lights on to outline the truck's profile).

    Again, I can't think of any reason NOT to drive with the headlights on all the time. If the truck has trouble starting with the lights preset on, then there's probably a problem with the vehicle's charging system/batteries/voltage regulator that should be addressed. Most newer rigs have protective circuits that momentarily cut out nonessential voltage loads during starting anyway...

  16. #16
    SCFAO
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Count my Dept in with using headlights anytime the truck is moving. And I also have noticed people pulling over for just headlights. LOL Too wierd

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