MOST drivers will consider it common sense to switch on their headlights when driving at night.
But when does using your dipped headlights actually become a legal requirement? And when should you use them during the day?
When should I use my headlights?
According to the Highway Code, motorists are required to use dipped headlights whenever visibility is seriously reduced.
Reduced visibility is generally considered when you are unable to see for more than 100 metres (328 feet) ahead of you.
This could be during the day in periods of heavy fog, rain or snow, or at night time.
The only exception to this rule is in 30mph built-up areas where roads are adequately lit by street lights no more than 180 metres (200 yards) apart – but even then it's best to keep your headlights on.
Can I get fined for not using my headlights?
Failing to use the appropriate dipped lights when visibility is reduced could land you a £50 on-the-spot fine if stopped by police.
Drivers should also be careful when using their front or rear fog lights as they can have a dangerous impact on other motorists.
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Rule 236 of the Highway Code states: "You MUST NOT use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced as they dazzle other road users and can obscure your brake lights. "You MUST switch them off when visibility improves."
Drivers can also be fined for incorrect use of their fog lights.
In March 2018, the RAC called for new laws to reduce the standard brightness of car headlights after a survey found 15 per cent of British drivers had been temporarily blinded by dazzling beams.
Rodney Kumar, spokesman for IAM RoadSmart, said: “Not using headlights when it is raining, at dawn or dusk, or where it is approaching darkness is utterly foolhardy.
"It makes no effort at all to turn that switch and put them on.
"Generally it’s laziness or forgetfulness that leads to people not using them, but it could make all the difference to a pedestrian or cyclist not having a crash with your vehicle.
“And don’t forget if you have day running lights that they often don’t switch the rear lights on automatically.”
Is it illegal to have a headlight out?
Driving without proper working headlights is illegal.
Although you may feel that one headlight is enough to see on the road, you are at risk of driving with no visibility if the other goes out whilst you are in motion.
If you drive with one headlight you will be pulled over by the police and they will hand you a fixed penalty notice fine of £100.
This will not add points to your licence, but is intended as a warning to fix your headlights.
If this offence is challenged in court the fine could rise to £1,000.
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