One of the keys to safe driving is being able to see what is going on around you. Oftentimes, the use of headlights can help drivers see better. While many newer vehicles are equipped with automatic headlights, if you are driving a vehicle with manual headlights, understanding when you need them is important.
- Headlights are most commonly used at night. Tennessee law requires headlights be used from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise. Remember, this is a minimum requirement. Often it is best to keep your headlight on longer than this.
- You should also use your headlights when you cannot see at least 200 feet in front of you. Foggy weather, snow, rain, or other weather conditions could reduce your visibility. Whenever you are using your windshield wipers, you should also be using your headlights.
- Because other states sometimes have different headlight laws, if you are traveling to another state, you should understand that state’s laws. For example, some state laws require you to use your headlights when you cannot see at least 500 or 1,000 feet in front of you. Others require you to have your headlights on from sunrise to sunset. In Pennsylvania, headlights are required in all construction zones. If driving there, you will likely see signs telling you to have on your headlights when you come to a construction zone.
- If in doubt, use your headlights. Your lights will make your vehicle more visible no matter the weather conditions or the time of day, creating safer driving conditions for you. Some people like to use their headlights because they drive a smaller vehicle or they otherwise are afraid of not being seen. Others use their headlights on roads with a lot of curves or on mountain roads to make themselves more visible to other drivers. Although it is a cliché, when it comes to the use of headlights, you are better safe than sorry.