Should NZ drivers have to keep their headlights on 24/7?

  • 23/07/2018

There are calls for the New Zealand Government to introduce a law saying drivers must keep their headlights on even during daylight hours.

In Sweden it's compulsory to drive with your headlights on at all hours of the day. Like New Zealand, Swedish roads are steep, bendy and icy. Unlike our roads, theirs are about three times safer.

The AA isn't too keen on the idea, with spokesperson Mark Stockdale saying "the evidence is unclear that such a rule would actually result in a meaningful improvement in road safety".

Anton Meier, director of Flexi Tanks, is campaigning for New Zealand to adopt the same policy in an attempt to lower our terrible road toll.

"It frustrates the hell out of me when I see someone coming towards me at the last moment with no lights on, whereas if they had their lights on they could be seen. It gives you so much more reaction time. To me, it's a no-brainer."

He says Kiwi drivers are notorious for leaving their lights off when it's dark, and this can lead to more accidents on the roads.

"I see cars on the road coming around corners under shadows, dark cars, and you can't see them. Whereas if they had lights on you'd see the lights in an instant and the brain knows instantly there's something there.

"It doesn't need to know if it's a red car, blue car, bus or motorbike - it just needs to know something's there and the lights on will tell you straight away."

One downside of constantly having the headlights on is a slight increase in petrol usage, but Mr Meier says it's worth it.

"That little whisker of petrol that it may cost, just relate that back to serious injuries, the cost to the country, one death - what's that worth to the country?

"I think the safety issue far outweighs the little miniscule bit of fuel."

He wants drivers to make a small adjustment each time they get into their cars.

"Get into your car, think lights on 24/7. Put your seatbelt on, start the car, lights on straight away.

"Just think of saving yourself. You want other people to see you."