February 10, 2019 at 2:19 pm #2341
The other day I was out driving at just about dark. All of a sudden people started honking at me and I wondered why. I pulled off the road safely in a parking lot and checked the headlights. They were off. I couldn’t understand why they were off and I couldn’t figure out how to turn them on again. Can you tell me what is going on?February 10, 2019 at 3:39 pm #2344
This is a question my wife asked me not long ago after she returned rather flustered from an early-evening road trip. And, as I thought about it, it turns out that it is a valid question. Here’s the situation that prompted it.
On the day it happened, she was driving to a local destination about 15 minutes from the house. As she drove along the daylight was waning and the dusk was getting thicker. Suddenly, other drivers started honking at here; it was just about the time when she also noticed it was awfully dark. Getting alarmed, she pulled off into a parking lot and checked the lights; they were off. She hopped back into the car, turned around and began heading home. To light her way, she drew back on the high-beam stock to turn on the brights. Of course, as she drove every time a car approached her she had to turn off the high beams. It was very distressing and she asked me what happened.
I checked things out and found that the rotary headlight switch was turned all the way to the left — off. There are four settings on the switch parking lights; automatic headlights; daylight running lights/automatic, and off. To access the switch, you turn it clockwise to set the switch.
I don’t know what the rationale for this was other than adding and setting up a daylight running light/automatic position on the headlight switch. The trouble with this is that the headlight/running light setting is also the automation setting for the vehicle — a 2015 Ford Fusion. In this setting, the headlights automatically go on when the vehicle is started. They remain on as daytime driving lights (DRL). There is another setting for the headlights, right next to the DRL setting. It the standard headlight setting. In this setting, the headlights are on but are not automatic. Also, they do not act as DRLs. The other settings, next setting to the left is for the parking lights, while the last setting is off.
In the DRL setting, as noted, the headlights turn on and off automatically and they set the interior lights so those lights come on, providing you with about 20 seconds of lighting before they shutdown. In the other settings — headlights and parking lights — the is an chime warning that sounds to let you know.
I will grant you that this is a clever scheme to ensure that vehicles meeting the requirements for DRLs under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (I believe it is 208), but it is also disconcerting when you realize that the headlights can be turned off and you will never know it because if there is no alarm, you assume that they are on. I would have thought that Ford would have implemented the alarm for the three non-automatic settings, but, it is only implemented for two, parking and non DRL headlights. I should think that the automaker would do a recall to update the software on this, but I haven’t heard of anything like it. It is good consumer relations to do this and I know an automaker like Ford that is customer-driven will fix this problem, sooner than later.
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