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When Should You Turn Your Headlights On?

When Should You Switch Your Headlights On?

As travel restrictions are eased in the UK and life begins heading back to some degree of normality, many of us will getting back on the roads in our cars for possibly the first time in months. There are some steps you should take to make sure your car is safe during and after a long period of inactivity.

However, you might also need to refresh your memory about the rules of the Highway Code, such as when you need to turn on your headlights. In the cold, dark winter months you might use your lights every time you drive but, as the days grow longer and brighter, there can be confusion over rules regarding the use of headlights.

Drivers can often be seen, although not very well, with no lights on as dusk falls. And, even in the height of summer in Britain, sudden heavy showers are not uncommon, but do you know at what level of visibility you are required by law to switch on your headlights? It seems that the vast majority of the UK’s motorists don’t know the answer.

According to the Highway Code, “You must use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced, generally when you cannot see for more than 100 metres (328 feet).” With some people having not driven for a long time, conducted a survey into the proportion of drivers who know when to use headlights, and the results are quite shocking.

Fewer Than 17% of Drivers Know the Headlight Laws

When asked at what distance visibility is considered seriously reduced according to the Highway Code, less than 17% of drivers gave the correct answer. That means an enormous 83% of motorists don’t know when they should use their headlights. Almost 30% thought the distance was more than 100 metres, but worryingly, the majority thought the required visibility distance is much lower.

The survey offered drivers 10 visibility distances to choose from, ranging from less than 20 meters to less than 250 meters. They were also given the options of ‘none of these’ and ‘not sure’ which drew responses of 0.98% and 20.20% respectively.

Just 16.62% of respondents answered correctly that the distance is 100 metres. A total of 22.58% thought they didn’t need to use their headlights until visibility was below 50 metres, while a staggering 23.56% thought the distance was just 20 metres.

You might think that it’s a trivial thing in these times when many cars feature automatic headlights. However, not having your headlights on when you should could get you an on-the-spot fine and points on your licence for careless driving. Also, if you’re involved in an accident where not having your lights on is a factor, you could be held liable and your insurance may be void leaving you thousands of pounds out of pocket.

Keep Your Personalised Number Plates Illuminated

It’s also a legal requirement to have your rear number plate lights working and, if you’ve invested in personalised number plates, you certainly don’t want to keep them in the dark. If you don’t have a private registration number, the CarReg database has millions of available plates, so there is sure to be one for you. Find your perfect personalised number plates today.