Why is Lighting Important?
Posted on December 15 2020
Lighting is Important to See and Be Seen
Adding auxiliary lighting to your motorcycle is an easy and effective modification to insure that you are able to see the road in front of you and that other motorists are able to see you.
Auxiliary lighting can be broken down into three main categories, brake lights, forward facing driving and fog lights, and conspicuity lighting.
Understanding Vehicle Braking
Total stopping distance is broken down into 3 parts: Perception distance, reaction distance, and braking distance. Perception distance is the time/distance it takes you to see and perceive and highway hazard. Reaction distance is the time/distance it takes you to begin reacting to the highway hazard. Braking distance is the time/distance it takes you to actually come to a stop. 90% of drivers need a minimum of 2.5 seconds just to perceive the hazard and another second to start reacting. Factor in a driver's age, driving experience, visibility and other distractions and you’ll quickly realize why it takes at least 5 seconds to see, understand and start reacting to something in front of you.
The minimum time needed to stop or maneuver around a hazard (in ideal weather/roadway conditions at a moderate speed of 40mph) is 4 seconds. If you are speeding, the roads are wet or covered in debris or your tires/brakes are worn, then more time would be needed. At a speed of 68mph you will travel roughly 100ft per second. Overall, the minimum stopping time from perception to fully stopped is roughly 7.5 seconds (750ft minimum distance traveled at 68mph). When you are stopping for a life threatening hazard, every second (and foot) counts.
The Average Stock Headlight Distance
On a motorcycle, the average stock low beam headlight shines about 88 feet and the high beam is about 153 feet. The total distance you can see is less than the total distance it will take you to stop in an emergency situation. This is called “overriding your headlight” and is an incredibly common and dangerous problem among drivers and riders alike. This is the reason DENALI developed a full line of auxiliary lighting solutions for any vehicle type. No matter what you ride, adding DENALI LED’s to your vehicle increases your odds of survival out on the road. And that alone is enough motivation for those of us at DENALI to create the best and most reliable LED lights we can.
Don’t Forget Conspicuity
Auxiliary lighting isn’t all about being able to see hazards so you can react, it’s also about making sure other highway users can see you!
On a motorcycle, you are invisible to the majority of other drivers and the small, weak stock headlights don’t help all that much. Drivers not only have a hard time seeing you but also judging your speed and distance. Strategically placing auxiliary lighting on your ride can greatly increase your chances of being seen and not becoming a greasy stain on the asphalt.
DENALI’s auxiliary headlight kits are perfect for increasing visibility to oncoming traffic. Using a smaller pod with a concentrated beam pattern (like our DM or D2) is a great way to be visible day or night. DRL’s (daytime running lights) are also available in LED strip form, which provide a bright white or amber running light to supplement your headlight.
No matter which light you choose for your use case, we recommend they are mounted below and to the left and right of your stock headlight to create a triangle pattern which is easier for oncoming drivers to recognize. If you can mount these lights lower on your front wheel, even better! Our fender mount kits can help make that happen. These low mounted lights also double as great fog lights! Keep in mind that in most states it’s illegal to run auxiliary lighting that sits above your stock headlight, not to mention it can be confusing to other drivers.
The DENALI Promise
Here at DENALI Electronics, your safety is our #1 concern. We want you to arrive at your destination safely, so you can spend more time with your family and friends. Our team of engineers don’t take this responsibility lightly. We work hard to ensure that when you purchase DENALI LED’s, you are purchasing the highest quality and most reliable lighting solutions possible. On top of that, our trusted team is standing by to answer any questions you may have, so you get the best kit for your application.