Ask a Trooper: Headlights on for safety!Would you please explain what the law is concerning when you have to have your headlights on?
By: Sgt. Curt S. Mowers, Pine Journal
Question: Would you please explain what the law is concerning when you have to have your headlights on? I have heard conflicting reports about this. Thanks!
Answer: First, I will tell you what the law actually requires. The law states, “Every vehicle upon a highway within this state: at any time from sunset to sunrise; at any time when it is raining, snowing, sleeting, or hailing; and at any other time when visibility is impaired by weather, smoke, fog or other conditions or there is not sufficient light to render clearly discernible persons and vehicles on the highway at a distance of 500 feet ahead; shall display lighted lamps and illuminating devices, as hereinafter, respectively, required for different classes of vehicles, subject to exceptions with respect to parked vehicles and law enforcement vehicles, as hereinafter stated.” (School buses have their own rules.)
Now I will greatly simplify things for you. I highly recommend that anytime you get into your vehicle, turn the headlights on. That’s it! Even if your vehicle is equipped with the automatic headlights (they come on when you start the vehicle), over ride them by turning on your headlights manually. You will then also have taillights and marker lamps. Just think how safe you will be!
By having your headlights on at all times day or night, you are eliminating the process of having to remember when you are required to have them on, not to mention the fact that you will be much safer. People do not pull out in front of vehicles displaying headlights as readily, and you can be seen from much further distances. Also, if you have a headlight out in the daytime, you can get it fixed before you need it to see at night. You need to use your headlights to be seen, as much as you do to see. I personally instruct this in all of my Defensive Driving courses, and whenever I get the chance to address groups regarding traffic safety. Be safe…be seen!
If you have any questions for future columns concerning motor vehicle traffic in Minnesota, send your questions to: “ASK A TROOPER” c/o Sgt. Curt S. Mowers, MN State Patrol, P.O. Box 644, Brainerd, MN 56401. Questions are edited.