You don’t have to be a genius to understand why so many of us are willing to invest significant sums in installing LED Light Bars on our rigs. In addition to giving dazzling light that provides outstanding visibility of the terrain or road ahead, those blinding rows of light look completely bad-arse once mounted. Coupled with some powerful LED Spotlights, and even Mother Nature is likely to think twice before messing with you.
What does require a stratospheric IQ, however, is figuring out how and where to legally affix your LED Light Bar once you have it. Being committed Aussie motorists, we’re all used to road and automotive-related laws being a total dog’s breakfast; confusing, bemusing and completely inconsistent.
State of Disunion
The problem, as in most cases in this country, is the fact that roads are the responsibility of the States. Each State enacts its own road rules, rather than one unified set of laws in place nationwide. Our Crow Eater friends can cavort around with their LED Light Bar’s proudly decked across the roof of their 4WDs, but venture into WA, and you might find yourself in some serious trouble. No lights above the front edge of the bonnet for those out West! Off-roading down in Victoria? Attach your lights to the bull-bar and go for your life. However, take a trip up north to Queensland to escape the cold, and you’re likely to cop a $117 fine plus a demerit point for your troubles. Our AFL loving mates could be in even greater trouble in ARL territory if the police realise that you’ve rigged the lights to automatically come on with the main high beams as per Victorian law, but strictly prohibited by the Banana Benders who require an isolator switch to ensure the exact opposite.
You should be. It’s a total mess, and anybody could be forgiven for scratching their heads in frustration. The main source of the conundrum is the fact that the laws governing headlights were written to account for standard factory headlights. It’s understandable, therefore, that much of the legislations deals with ensuring that they are aligned symmetrically and at the right height. LED Light Bars throw a spanner in these works due to their shape. Just like your charming but socially inappropriate uncle at Christmas lunch; everyone’s perfectly happy to have him there, but not entirely sure what to do with him. To be fair, aftercare lights are almost impossible to effectively regulate given that they can be hooked up in pretty much whatever location and at whatever angle you want them.
Shedding Some Light
So, let’s see if we can break it down and get an idea of what everyone does agree upon. Perhaps we can make a bit of sense out of the whole palaver. Here’s what all states are essentially telling you:
- Please make sure you can see properly:
It should be a no brainer that your lights should not obstruct your view. However, we all know that one dude who puts form over function and is squinting to see out of his 12cm2 of clear windscreen. Don’t be that guy.
- Please do not blind the poor sods driving in the opposite direction:
Blinded drivers are, as a general rule, unhappy drivers. If you’re leaving a trail of mayhem and destruction in your wake, you probably have your Light Bar installed too high and shining into oncoming traffic’s eyes. It doesn’t matter how awesome it looks, stop it.
- Please keep all your lights aligned as symmetrically as possible:
If you’re driving on narrow, unlit country roads at night, it’s really helpful to know what is approaching you from the opposite direction. If your light profile looks like an Oversized Mutant Zombie Batmobile screaming down the road at 110km/h, you’re unlikely to win too many friends on the bitumen. Keep your bar horizontal, centred and facing forward and you should be right. Try to avoid the temptation to attach twelve of those suckers to your vehicle as well. Find another way to compensate.
- Please try to ensure your LED Light Bar comes on at the appropriate time:
It’s simpler than it looks. Ensure that your lights automatically come on and off when full beams are engaged or disengaged, but that you can still switch them off if necessary while they’re on.
The Light Fantastic
See? Wasn’t SO hard, was it? When you look at it like this, it’s pretty much common sense. Most responsible off-roaders have plenty of that, so utilise it when installing your LED Light Bar and you’ll have years of trouble free driving.
Want more information on mounting LED Light bars & Driving Lights in your state? Check out the following links for full specs:
Northern Territory: https://nt.gov.au/driving/safety/additional-lighting
Western Australia: http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/mediaFiles/licensing/LBU_VS_IB_132.pdf