When fitting extra lights to your vehicle, there are a couple of things that you need to know:
1. It’s easy to fit extra lights and be compliant with the regulations in every country in the world. Fitting extra lights can improve safety, enhancing night-time visibility for the driver.
2. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that the vehicle complies with the regulations of that country.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT LIGHT
Most people who fit extra lights don’t want to install a separate switch on the dashboard they just want the lights to come on with the existing vehicle main beam headlamps, and to turn off when the driver dips the lights. In most countries, this can be done where the supplementary lamps are “approved headlights”. If non approved headlamps are used on the vehicle, then in most countries they should either be concealed when driving on a public road, or at least switched separately from the main headlights.
WHAT IS AN “APPROVED HEADLIGHT”?
In all European countries, plus a number of other countries (Japan, Australia etc), it is a requirement that any additional lamps are “approved headlights”. Automotive headlamps are approved to UNECE regulation 112 or 113, which is a comprehensive test of the product, including such tests as lens scratch resistance, on/off switching, thermal endurance etc. If the lamp passes the tests, the lamp becomes certified and the manufacturer is permitted to add an E-mark to the lens of the product. The E-mark is a printed or moulded letter E encirculed and added to the product with a number to indicate where the approval tests were carried out. For instance, the Lazer Triple-R and RS products, these have been approved in the UK, so they have an E11 symbol, where the 11 indicates the UK testing. For the ST products the code is E9, symbolising approval in Spain. This country code is only an indication of the test location; once approval is granted, the approval is valid in every country signed up to the E-mark system.
Every approved headlight is given a “reference mark” relating to the maximum peak intensity of light coming from the unit, at a distance of 25 metres. Some countries require that the maximum reference mark allowed for road use is 100. So, if the vehicles normal headlights have a reference of 20 each, then the driver should only fit an additional 4 lights, which might each have a reference mark of 15. The Lazer products spread or focus the light differently, but the relatively low peak intensity figure of the ST and RS products in particular, is made possible by the huge amount of light generated by these products being spread over a wide area, in a homogenous and smooth light pattern.
Positioning the lights up high can be a real benefit in terms of reducing the amount of shadow cast by bumps in the ground, due to the driver’s eye line being below that of the beam of light. In Europe, it’s required to mount the lights no higher than 4 metres. Where a Daytime Running Lights and Position lights are used (such as the Lazer RS product range), there are more specific mounting requirements. There may also be regional requirements for deactivating the standard vehicle position lights where supplementary position lights are used.
Buying an “approved headlight” as opposed to a “work light” gives piece of mind that the product has been engineered correctly and it can withstand a severe and harsh test program. It gives the driver the added benefit that he/she can also wire the units directly to the main beam headlights without the need for adding a separate switch on the dash, which often increases installation time and decreases ease of use.