Posted on: 26 June 2017Share
Off-road LED light bars have made driving in unlit off-road areas a lot safer, but they've also brought up some etiquette issues that could be prevented if you follow a few rules. The light bars are very bright, and it's this brightness that is at the heart of the issues. You'll still be able to use the bars if you take these issues into consideration; all you have to do is be aware of where you are and who is around you.
Turn Them off When You Get Back on the Street
An off-road LED light bar is meant for off-road use only. They are not substitute headlights for your vehicle in the city, and no matter how dark the city street is, they should not be used as brights. LED light bars are so bright that they can temporarily blind oncoming drivers, as well as the driver right in front of your vehicle.
When you reach a populated area, turn off the light bars. Rely on your usual headlights only and follow local laws regarding the use of your brights. Using the bars in populated areas could make you run afoul of the local police or highway patrol.
Avoid Dark-Sky Areas
Certain areas of the United States have been designated International Dark Sky Parks. These areas allow people to see the night sky without the masking effects of light pollution. There are also several areas that, while not officially Dark Sky parks, are popular with amateur astronomers for stargazing. Please avoid using the light bars in these areas. Be nice; others' astronomy interests are just as valid as your desire to drive off-road at night. If you find you've made a wrong turn into a Dark Sky area, try to use your normal or bright headlights, and not the LED lights if at all possible as you make your way out of the area.
Please Don't Add Strobe Effects
It may be cool to see how fast you can make the LED light bars blink, especially if they're aimed at trees swaying in the wind or at other items that are moving. But it is better not to make them flash this way. If you encounter campers or nighttime hikers, for example, who are prone to seizures (it is possible for people with epilepsy to go camping with certain precautions, for example), the lights could set off a seizure. It's a rare situation but not one that you want to trigger.
Your ability to go off-road with LED light bars isn't prevented if you avoid flashing lights, Dark Sky parks, and street use. You will be a better ambassador for off-roading -- and enjoy off-roading more -- if you use the lights properly.