Shining Light On Lighting Equipment For Fall.
Driving a semi-truck on the highway can sometimes feel like an endless journey, but it seems even longer during the fall months as the days quickly close-in on drivers. Because operational lights are required from sunset to sunrise, the need for reliable lighting on commercial vehicles becomes increasingly more important for drivers to view signage; spot running wildlife and stay clear of road imperfections that could cause sudden lane shifts.
The days will get shorter while the nights get longer beginning on September 22, 2021 (Fall Equinox). Here are a few things drivers need to know about lighting equipment including: The difference between LED and Halogen lamps; information about lighting violations; and our favorite brands that carry quality head lamps and lighting components for heavy-duty trucks.
Which Is Better: LED or Halogen Head Lights?
LED and halogen head lights are in kicking traditional head lamps to the curb; but there are pros and cons to both types of light sources.
When it comes to brightness and modern appearance, LED head lamps reign supreme thanks to blue-white optics that illuminate from clusters of sealed beam diodes. LEDs help drivers see a wide scope of landscape and are beneficial in catching sight of white-tailed deer and other roaming wild animals. LEDs are also easy to spot for nearby vehicles whether they are on a big rig’s front, side, or backside. The downside of LED lighting is that they can be an eyesore to passing vehicles; and because they contain multiple diodes, it can be difficult to distinguish when the lights go out (when replacement is needed).
Halogen lamps, however, share the same attributes as traditional incandescent lights offering a gentle yellow-white glow that is not as distracting to other drivers. Halogen bulbs last approximately 500 hours making them an energy-efficient choice for eco-conscious drivers. However, halogen headlights only allow drivers to see what is in front of them and not around them and the bulbs become foggy and dimmer overtime due to weather exposure.
When it comes to the best lighting equipment for heavy-duty trucks, it is best to weigh pros against cons while looking at your budget.
Bad Lighting Can Get You a Citation
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CSVA) noted that the top vehicle violation in 2020 was inoperable lighting accounting for 12.2 percent of all vehicle violations and 4.4 percent of all out-of-service vehicle violations. As such, the CSVA’s safety inspections during the CVSA 2021 International Roadcheck (May 4-6, 2021) were focused on bad lighting. It did not end well for some drivers. Over 40,000 drivers were pulled over for inspection and had to remove 6710 commercial motor vehicles and 2080 drivers from roadways. As we’ve stated in the past, failing lights on heavy-duty vehicles can result in court fines up to $250 and 6 demerit points against commercial drivers. Remember when we said that it is hard to tell when LED lights go out? Well, this has caused issues for drivers since drivers can still use the head lights even with missing diodes if they are seen from the required (in most states) 500 feet distance.
Pay attention to the signs of failing truck lights such as: dimming and/or flickering headlights and when the headlight is out. If not, it could mean lights out for you as a truck driver.
Best Truck Lights on the Market
When asked about the best lights for heavy-duty applications, it is easy to shine light on a few brands: Grote, Hella, Truck-Lite and Match Made.
Grote is a leader in smart visibility systems with a full line of head lamps, marker lights, work lights, emergency lights and replacement bulbs/lens. Grote has been lighting the way for millions of drivers with innovative LED lighting technologies since 1901.
Hella has made a household name for itself featuring the latest in Halogen, Xenon and LED technology for heavy-duty trucks and vocational vehicles. Lighting systems from Hella offer drivers a high level of security while driving and a sleek design approach on vehicles.
Truck-Lite has created a series of firsts in the lighting industry including the first to release sealed lighting products and offer sealed stop/turn/taillight for military and commercial vehicles. Truck-Lite is best known for their heated LED truck lights that help melt ice up to 3 times faster than competing lamps. They have an established catalog of LED head lamps, work lamps and combination lamps for all types of heavy-duty vehicles.
Match Made truck lights are packed full of special features that set them apart from competitors. Match Made head lights, marker clearance lights and lighting components include sealed protective coating to protect the light’s lens from road grime and harsh weather and they all include a unique U.S. patented design. Match Made headlights are factory-certified and are tested and approved for quality and assurance to fit on multiple commercial vehicles.