RV Exterior Lights: Should You Leave Them On All Night?
Most RVs are equipped with some exterior lighting nowadays. This is a useful feature that makes it easy to see what you’re doing when it’s dark or cloudy outside. Unfortunately, the usage of RV exterior lights has also sparked a bit of debate between different RVers.
Some people believe that they can (and should) leave their lights on at all hours of the day or night. Others believe that they should never use them at all unless it’s an emergency. Both sides have some valid points, and we’re here to explore the different facets of this issue.
Below, we’ll break down some of the pros and cons of using your RV exterior lights at night. Ultimately, it’s up to you, unless there are specific campground rules about light usage. But take some time to look at the different reasons people might have for leaving their lights on or switching them off. If nothing else, it may help you better understand the other side of the issue!
Benefits of leaving your RV exterior lights on
RV lights are quite bright and powerful nowadays. They can keep your RV nice and visible, which is wonderfully convenient if you need to do anything at night. Most modern models have some exterior lights installed, and they’re meant to be used. Some benefits of these lights include:
You can see better in the dark
The most obvious benefit of using your RV exterior lights at night is the increased visibility. If you need to go somewhere during the night, such as taking your dogs outside or using the bathroom, you’ll be able to see everything in your campsite. This reduces the likelihood of tripping and generally provides a safer environment at night.
Provides light to others if the campsite is poorly lit
In addition to illuminating your personal campsite, keeping the RV exterior lights on can also light up the surrounding area. A lot of campgrounds (especially rural ones) have little/no lighting at night.
Even if they never say it, your illuminated camper can be helpful to others in the campground because it can act as a landmark or a source of light. On dark nights, this can be quite handy!
You’re more visible to others/have greater peace of mind
Some people like to keep their lights on at night because it makes them feel safer. Sometimes campgrounds can also be quite dark at night, and this setting can make a lot of people uneasy.
Some RVers who travel alone or struggle with PTSD have stated that they feel more comfortable if they leave the lights on at night. If there was an emergency and someone needed to locate your camper, it would be much easier for them to find it if you had the lights on.
More convenient than using flashlights or headlamps
Finally, using your RV exterior lights is useful for you because you won’t need to keep track of other sources of light. Flashlights and headlamps are some of the main alternatives, but they are easy to lose, and sometimes they run out of battery at inconvenient times.
Plus, they need to be aimed at specific things, and they often don’t provide enough light for your needs. So if you just use the built-in RV lights, you won’t need to deal with the hassle of these smaller devices!
Drawbacks of leaving your RV exterior lights on
Of course, RV exterior lights are a double-edged sword. Although they may be enjoyable for the person using them, they can be a major annoyance for everyone else in the vicinity.
Sometimes you need to balance your preferences with the comfort of others. Some drawbacks to keeping your lights on at night include:
You might annoy your neighbors
One of the biggest reasons to keep your lights off at night is because it’s considerate to your neighbors. Sometimes they might appreciate the extra illumination, but most people just want to enjoy a quiet, dark campsite.
This is especially important to remember if you camp in close proximity to other RVs. If you’re decently spread out in the campground, it’s less of an issue. But if your lights are shining directly into their windows, you must understand that they could justifiably become irritated by this practice.
Contributes to light pollution
Light pollution is a common problem in the world, and many RVers enjoy this lifestyle because it allows them to connect with nature and get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. But if you keep your lights on all the time (and others follow suit), then you’ll contribute to light pollution in your area.
When this happens, it’s hard to see the sky. Stargazing is one of the most iconic parts of camping, but it’s hard to enjoy this pastime when someone has their lights turned all the way up.
Can attract bugs
Nothing attracts swarms of bugs quite like a bright light in the darkness. Moths are common culprits, but you could also invite swarms of mosquitos, flies, and other annoying insects into your campsite. Make sure you bring plenty of bug spray if you plan to keep your lights on all night!
Uses extra energy
Lights require power in order to function. If you want to run your exterior RV lights all night long, they can drain some of your energy reserves. In addition, the lights will also burn out faster than usual and you’ll need to get replacements semi-regularly. This is often a waste of energy because you usually won’t even be awake to take advantage of the lights.
It may be against the rules
Finally, you’ll need to learn the rules and regulations of each campground you visit to learn if overnight light usage is even allowed. Some places have pretty strict policies, and you might have to pay an extra fee if you keep your lights on at night.
There are also some spaces that legally restrict the use of lights so they can combat light pollution. To stay on the safe side, you may want to power down the RV exterior lights so you can avoid any trouble they might attract.
At the end of the day, there aren’t usually strict laws that forbid the usage of RV exterior lights at night. It’s your vehicle, and you can generally decide when to turn the lights on or off. If it grants you peace of mind, feel free to keep the lights on.
That being said, you can’t control the reactions of your fellow campers. Even if you prefer to keep your campsite lit up, you need to be prepared to deal with the possible backlash from your neighbors. It’s courteous to turn your lights off when you go to bed, especially if you’re camping in close quarters with other people.
If you need to keep them on for some reason, try to talk to your neighbors to inform them of the situation. They might not like it, but they’ll probably be understanding if they know why you’re doing it. Try to respect the people around you if you want them to extend you the same courtesy.
Nobody can stop you from keeping the lights on inside your camper though. If you need some extra illumination to feel safe, try keeping some lamps and nightlights on within your RV. Then, if you need to go outside during the night, you can turn on the exterior lights for brief stints or use a flashlight or headlamp. Maybe it’s not your preference, but compromise can help everyone have a better camping experience.
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