When Should You Use Your Headlights For Clear View

Having a practical knowledge of When Should You Use Your Headlights – is always helpful in various situations.

Whether you are driving in the daylight or complete darkness, being aware of how headlights work, is a very important aspect of smooth driving.

It is noteworthy to know all the aspects of using the headlights correctly, for example: at what minimum distance should you dim your headlights or what are the main differences between existing types of headlights and so on?

Through this article, you will gain a clear understanding of the most important approaches to using headlights.

What is The Basic Purpose of Using Headlights?

Headlights are the illuminating tool on the car that guarantees safety and smooth driving on the different roads.

They are an important component of the vehicle. It’s worth noting that a vehicle’s headlights are available in a wide range of forms and sizes.

With the help of this article, you will find out further helpful information about headlights and their usage.

The headlights can be split into several specific groups – high beam headlights and low beam headlights, fog lights, amber headlights, hazard lights, and daytime running lights.

The illumination type of the headlight depends on the lamp place, where its reflector is located, the surface type of the light glass, as well as the placement of the headlight on the car.

Need To Know: When Should You Use Your Headlights

In a modern car, as many as 8 different lighting devices are installed (including the rear license plate light, but in this case, we will only focus on the main headlights).

Drivers can use 7 types of headlight configurations: Daytime running lights; High beam; Low beam; Fog lights; Amber lights; Turn signals; Hazard lights.

And among the conditions for the inclusion of certain lighting devices during the driving, there are the following listings: daylight hours; the dark time of the day: illuminated road; the dark time of the day: unlit road; poor visibility conditions; standing/moving car; trailer / towed car; populated / not populated area.

Using headlights during nighttime or darkness is crucial and guarantees better road visibility.

But it is essential to know that you should switch to full beam headlights only when – the road is stretched in front and is entirely dark.

When you pass by a car, by a pedestrian, or on a bicycle, that is coming from an opposite direction during the night and is followed by another vehicle, you must dim your lights because usually, the illumination in the full-beam mode is blinding and disturbing to those who are reflecting its light.

Why is it Important To Know How To Properly Use Headlights?

Your vehicle’s headlights are one of the most critical safety components, ensuring that you and other drivers can see each other. Staying safe on the road depends on how well you use your lights.

While it’s obvious to switch on your lights when it’s dark outside, did you realize there are other times when doing so – might be beneficial?

Or are you aware of when it’s OK to utilize your high-beam lights? What is the best time to turn on the lights for fog?

Continue reading to learn when to utilize your lights, including low and high beam lights.

Different Types of Headlights and How Should You Use Your Headlights

01. Low Beam Lights

If you are an inexperienced driver, driving in adverse weather can be challenging for you.

That is why it’s important to know all the details that concern the correct usage of the headlights to make your drive much easier.

Before merging into the rainy weather, for example, do not forget to turn on the low beam lights so that your car is visible in the traffic on the road.

If your car is equipped with an automatic light sensor, then make sure that the automation turns on the low beam lights to work during the day in rainy weather.

Remember that some car models have a low-quality light sensor, which turns on the headlights of the car only at night.

If this happens to your car, then turn on the manual mode of maneuvering the headlights.

02. Fog Lights – You Are To Dim Your Headlights at a Minimum Distance of 300 Ft

While using the fog lights, remember that you should not turn on your front fog lights when visibility is normal.

The same applies to the rear fog lights, which can distract other drivers in good weather.

On a highway, you should only use fog lights if visibility on the road drops below 300 ft.

A good way to know if you should turn on the fog lights or not – is to look out for cars that are more than 300 ft ahead of you.

If you can’t see the car because of poor visibility, then it is worth turning on the rear and front fog lights, which will improve the visibility of your car on the road.

If you can fully see a car moving at a distance of more than 300 ft from you, you should not turn on the fog lights.

03. High Beam Lights

Also remember that during rain and poor visibility, you should use your high beams frequently.

But during the rainfall, or as well as in good weather, you should never use high beam headlights if other vehicles are driving towards you (in your opposite direction).

If you are in doubt about whether high beams can be used, put yourself in the shoes of other drivers and ask yourself the questions: “How will high beams affect other drivers? or “Will high beams blind other drivers?”

04. Daytime Running Lights

Daytime running lights are external lighting devices that are mounted directly on the vehicle.

As you probably already understood from the name, such lighting devices are turned on only during daylight hours to make the vehicle more visible.

For the first time, DRLs were used in Scandinavia, where due to heavy fog during the daytime, the number of accidents increased and it was hard to distinguish the measurements of the car that was ahead of you.

05. Amber Lights

Very useful vehicle installments are the amber lights, typically used for cars that drive very slowly and often stop at some places along the road.

Amber lights can also be used as warning signs or indicator lights.

It is essential to know that Amber-colored lights are the most popular permissive warning symbol in the United States.

06. Turn Signals

Drivers also should know how to maneuver with turn signals properly. Here are the rules for using turn signals:

  • The turn signal is turned on before any maneuver: starting to move, changing lanes, turning, and stopping.
  • The turn signal is turned on in advance of the start of the maneuver; the turn signal should not mislead other road users.
  • When performing a maneuver, even with the turn signal is turned on, there should be no obstacles created for other drivers.
  • Turning on the turn signal does not give the driver any advantage in driving and does not relieve him from taking safety measures.
  • The driver must turn off the light immediately after doing the operation; in the absence or malfunction of the turn signals, the driver must provide the information about the planned maneuver with their hands.

07. Hazard Lights

Drivers also need to be aware of hazard lights.

When the driver is forced to stop in a location where it is prohibited or where – considering visibility conditions, the vehicle cannot be distinguished from other vehicles – the hazard light must be turned on.

This type of light can be seen from afar and it gives information about the endangerment in a given situation.

Knowing the types of light bulbs used in headlights is also important. Lamps can be divided into four types:

a) Incandescent Lamps

The most common and undemanding types of bulbs. They are similar to ordinary light bulbs.

It works with the help of the tungsten filament that is located in a vacuumed glass;

b) Halogen

Also often used in everyday life. The mechanism of its work is approximately the same, but it lasts way longer than an incandescent lamp;

c) Xenon

Such a device works by heating xenon gas – a noble gas that emits a lot of light when heated. Such lamps are much more powerful than halogen bulbs.

d) LED

There was a common misunderstanding about LED lamps; people thought that was not qualified enough to be used as car headlights.

But as soon as these lamps are disseminated in car headlights with the form of honeycomb, they shine very brightly.

One LED light shines lesser than a xenon lamp, but when the needed amount of LED lights is installed in a car, they distribute the exact amount of illumination needed for safety.


01. Is it True You Are to Dim Your Headlights at a Minimum Distance of 500ft?

The answer depends purely on the driving condition – as it may vary according to distance.

Usually, drivers are prescribed to use low beam lights when there is a car within 250-300ft.

02. How Necessary is it To Use Daytime Running Lights?

Many vehicles are equipped with automatic headlights nowadays, that will switch on automatically when driving in dark surroundings, but it is not obligatory to have them.

For example, vehicles in the United States are not obligated to have daytime running lights.

Keep in mind that the main attribute of DLR is to make your car measurements more visible.

03. Can Low Beams Serve The Purpose of Daytime Running Lights?

DLRs – also known as daytime running lights are low beam headlights of your car, that are used frequently during the daytime.

By turning them on, they enhance the visibility of your car on the highway. Driving around the city at night with DRLs will result in a fine.

In this case, the traffic rules require you to turn on either the low beam lights (if the road is lit) or the high beam ones, if there is no lighting in the surroundings.

04. Are Fog Lights The Same as Low Beam Lights?

“Fog lights” do not require approval from the traffic regulation department, if they meet the specifications prescribed by the manufacturer.

They have less power than beam lights, so they do not require a lot of energy, which is why they can work constantly without overloading the generator.

As a result, they burn out less often than the low beam lights, which means that the driver will be able to save money on lamps each year.

And in terms of luminosity, fog lights operate in the same way as low beam lights.

It is worth mentioning, that traffic rules allow using the rear fog lights only when the visibility is very low.

The term “poor visibility” concerns a situation when the visibility of the road is less than 500ft in a downpour, snow, and so on., as well as at dusk.

05. Why is it Necessary To Switch Between High Beam and Low Beam Lights?

We turn on the high beam light at night, when there is insufficient visibility or we are driving in tunnels.

Also, the traffic guidelines allow the drivers to use the low beam light in those situations.

We change high beam lights to low beam lights when:

a) We are driving at the intersections (500 ft before the oncoming car)

b) If the vehicle coming from the opposite direction “blinks” their headlights

c) In situations when your high beam lights can blind and distract oncoming drivers

d) In bright / lit-up surroundings

06. Is it Safe To Use A High Beam If Your Low Beams Don’t Work and Vice Versa?

Using the high beam lights is unsafe if the low beam doesn’t work.

As soon as the issue arises, a driver must pull over the car and call the institution that is responsible for fixing the given technical error.

As the high beam light might blind cars that are driving in the opposite direction, the possibility of car accidents is very high.

Make sure to check if your car works accordingly before hitting the road.

07. Should You Flash Your Headlights To Let Oncoming Drivers Know of Your Presence?

A flashing headlight is usually considered as a warning before proceeding with some type of maneuver on the road, for example doing above mentioned activity can notify other vehicles that the driver is yielding right, but flashing headlights are considered illegal in some countries and is very risky as it distracts other drivers and can be easily misinterpreted.

08. What Does Overdriving at Your Headlights Mean?

Imagine driving in rainy weather when the visibility is very low and you can barely see what is in the front.

You do have your fog lights on but they are not helpful as you are still driving at the full speed and taking the risk of getting into a car accident.


It is essential to master the art of safe driving to ensure the well-being of you and other drivers on the road.

We hope that this article has given you a better grasp of how headlights operate in various situations.

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