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Driving Safety Tip: When to Use Your Headlights

Drivers often forget about one of the easiest to use and most essential safety components of their vehicles—the headlights. Our Panama City auto accident attorneys at The Pittman Firm, P.A. explain when motorists should and shouldn’t use their headlights in order to minimize the chance of causing an accident.

When to Use Your Headlights

According to Florida state law, vehicle headlights are required to be turned on from sunset to sunrise and in conditions of insufficient light and/or adverse weather, such as rain, fog, smog, or smoke.

Headlights can also be useful when the sun is out. Drivers often think that because they’re driving during the daytime, they don’t need to put their headlights on. However, the purpose of turning on your headlights during inclement weather is so that you can be seen by other drivers, not so you can see. So, even if you are driving through light rain in the afternoon and are able to see fine, switch on your headlights if they don’t automatically run during the day to help other motorists. Both front and rear-end collisions are more easily prevented this way.

DMV.org also recommends turning on your headlights during the day when driving:

  • On rural and mountain roads
  • On narrow two-lane highways
  • Within 30 minutes before sunset
  • Within 30 minutes after sunrise
  • On any road with a “daylight headlight section” sign
  • Anytime visibility is low

When to Use Your High Beams

Always turn on your high beams or “brights” when driving on dark, rural roads or anywhere without streetlamps and other roadside lighting.

However, avoid using your brights when other vehicles are around. If you are following closely behind another driver, use your regular headlights—bright lights shining into the car ahead of you can blind the driver. This is also the case in the face of oncoming vehicles. If a vehicle is coming towards you on a dark road, switch off your high beams until they pass. Blinding another driver is extremely dangerous and can lead to a collision.

When Headlights Can Be Dangerous

When driving in fog, turn on your low-beam headlights or fog lights if installed in your vehicle. Never use your regular headlights or high beams in foggy weather—because fog is made of tiny water droplets, light spreads and reflects in a way that makes it harder for both you and other motorists to see.

Finally, according to Florida Statutes 316.220, “every headlamp upon every motor vehicle shall be located at a height of not more than 54 inches nor less than 24 inches.” If your lights are positioned too high or too low, this can affect how well others can see.

If you have been injured in an auto collision, our Panama City car accident attorney may be able to help you receive compensation to pay for your medical bills and other expenses. Contact us today to learn more during a free consultation.

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