There are a lot of things that you should be doing to make driving on a gravel road comfortable, safe and least damaging to your 4WD. One of the major points though, is that when driving on gravel roads you should always have your headlights on, whether its day or night.
Why should you drive with your headlights on?
The reason is super simple; you will see a vehicle’s headlights a long way before you’ll see the vehicle itself, and when it is dusty and you are moving quickly this can be the difference between being able to react and move out of the way in time or having a terrible accident.
There are a few videos online showing people being overtaken by other vehicles and having terrible accidents because they can’t see far enough through the dust cloud. Obviously, you shouldn’t be overtaking when its not safe, but having lights on buys you some additional time to make intelligent decisions.
On the Gibb River Road in the Kimberley, there are signs suggesting you put your headlights on, and a number of people do this. However, probably 50% of people don’t bother, and its downright dangerous.
I’d fairly comfortably say you would see an oncoming vehicle at least 2 to 3 times earlier with their lights on, than with their lights off. We tested this theory many times on various gravel roads, and the lights stick out very clearly.
Some people whinge, and say it uses more power, or that you blow globes more often, and yep, that is true, but its so worth it. Safety is far more important than a few bucks worth of globes and fuel, so next time you head onto a gravel road, do everyone a favour and turn your headlights on!
We drive with our headlights on all the time on the road too, for the same reason; you are more easily seen with headlights on than not, so why take the risk? It’s almost free to do so, with the potential for astronomical returns.