When to Use Your Headlights

posted in: Vision Impairment

Drivers use their headlights to help illuminate dark roadways at night or in dark conditions. However, it is important for drivers to understand that often, lights are necessary for safety in other circumstances. Headlights are not only necessary to help illuminate your own path, but are also imperative to help other drivers see your vehicle and react in a timely manner.

In many situations, headlight use can help everyone on the road stay aware of their surroundings. The bright beams of headlights immediately capture the attention of other drivers, allowing them to react to your presence much more quickly than they would have had you been driving without them. Certain situations call for all drivers to use their headlights, regardless of whether or not the lights increase the driver’s visibility.

  • Driving away from the setting or rising sun. As you drive away from the sun, you are less visible to drivers in the incoming lane because of the bright sky behind you. By turning on your headlights, you help other drivers recognize your presence.
  • Dusk and dawn. At dusk and dawn, visibility is low and the angle of light makes it difficult for the eyes to distinguish shapes within the shadows.
  • Fog. In foggy conditions, it is important to use your low beams, even if they do not increase your own visibility by much. Your low beams will help other drivers see you in the fog. However, your high beams can actually decrease your visibility by reflecting back from fog particles in the air. If you live in an area that experiences frequent fog, consider investing in fog lamps for your vehicle.
  • Dusty conditions. Just as in fog, drivers should use their low beam lights in order to alert other motorists of their presence and should avoid using high beams, which will decrease visibility.
  • Rain. Rainy conditions call for headlights, since falling rain can camouflage shapes and decrease the ability of other drivers to see your vehicle. In addition, your own windshield wipers, although restoring some visibility, still cause a distraction due to their continuous motion, and therefore headlights are important to add extra illumination to your path.
  • Snow. Bright white snow can reflect headlights and blind drivers. However, in darkened or stormy conditions, low beam lights can help increase your own visibility and can help other drivers see you.


To learn about accident prevention and for more safe driving tips, visit the website of the Stevens Point car accident lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier, S.C.

Joseph Devine
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