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Do's & Dont's of using Headlights!

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It isn’t summertime for most part of the year we often need to drive to and from work in the dark. We not only need to check whether or not our lights work right but we also need a recap on the rules, regulations and etiquette surrounding use of car lights.

Headlamps are meant not just for nighttime driving, but there are also situations when you should be using them during the day. These and fog lights are lights that should also be used during daytime hours when your visibility is seriously compromised. You nevertheless must switch them off when visibility improves to avoid dazzling others on the road. Low beams should be turned on to ensure that others you can see you in bad weather. Under EU legislation, all new cars since 2011 are required to have daytime running lights that come on automatically when the engine ignites, and turn off automatically when your car headlights or sidelights are turned on.

During nighttime need to light up your way is a no brainer. You need to have sufficient light to see clearly where you are heading, and also to make sure that others can see you without you dazzling them. You must always use your headlamps at night, defined as between half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise. Also ensure that they are dipped so as not to disturb whom you are following or approaching, or for that matter others on the road, including pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

While overtaking, for example, always keep a low beam until you are at level with the vehicle that you are passing. On passing the vehicle you may switch back to the main beam if necessary, provided this does not dazzle any oncoming driver. When at the receiving end of oncoming dazzling lights, just slow down. If necessary stop, and only continue once you can see the road ahead clearly. Although not a legal requirement to use your fog lights while driving through fog, it’s much safer to so that other motorists can see you. Never use fog lights when visibility is clear, especially at night because they disturb other drivers. It’s both dangerous and illegal.

The law requires that you have two functioning headlights that are to be turned on whenever it is dark out, usually from sunset to sunrise. In Tennessee and Georgia, headlamps are required to be turned on 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise, when visibility it low, and in adverse weather conditions. These conditions make it harder to see other vehicles. Turning on your headlamps will simultaneously turn on your taillights, significantly reducing the chances of a rear-end collision.

In some states, headlamps are required anytime the vehicle’s windshield wipers are on in continuous use. This indicates the presence of rain, sleet, snow. Other states require motorists to turn on headlamps in construction zones. Most states require high beams to be dimmed within 500 feet of another vehicle. The Department of Motor Vehicles Recommends the following.

  • Adverse weather conditionsmake it difficult to see (rain, snow, sleet, fog, or smoke)
  • On ruraland mountain roads
  • On narrow two-lane highways
  • Road signs indicate a daytime headlight zone
  • The sun is about to rise or set
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