The time has now come to upgrade conventional incandescent bulbs for drivers of HGVs and vans according to the Operations Director of HGV Direct – the truck parts supplier. "The price of LED units has come down massively over the last few years. In addition to improved visibility, there are particular benefits for drivers of HGVs and trailers to replace the entire unit for one with LEDs" says Chris Knowles.
Chris continues, "Not only are Light Emitting Diodes far more energy efficient than ordinary bulbs, in which the majority of energy is wasted as heat, but the main advantage for drivers of HGVs is how robust they are. The filaments in incandescent bulbs are very fragile. It only takes a pothole or speed bump to blow a bulb. The average life of a bulb is 1,000 hours, but in practice can blow as soon as they are replaced. LEDs are designed to last 100,000 hours and saving a direct impact are unlikely to fail. And even if one does, because they are in a series, then it does not affect the performance of the total unit. Although the cost of incandescent bulbs is very cheap, with typical labour rates of £30 per hour, the real cost of replacement is much higher. When you consider possible lost revenue from downtime, then the economics are glaringly clear – the additional purchase cost is likely to be recovered within 6 months for most HGV drivers and even quicker for vehicles that regularly travel off road – like quarries."
Although LEDs are not available to be used as the main headlight, every other set of lights on an HGV and trailer can use LEDs. Chris sums up, "LEDs are instant on/off whereas incandescent bulbs take time to glow up/down. Also, if a driver were to mistakenly leave the lights on for an extended period, there is a very real danger of flattening the battery. Leaving LEDs on during a long break will have no detrimental effect when coming to start the vehicle. Another advantage is that they drastically reduce the likelihood of traffic violations and PG 9s. With a typical ‘cheeseburger’ rear light/indicator LED unit costing just £24.50, it really is an investment worth making."