How important are your vehicle’s headlights?

Headlights have existed nearly as long as the automobile itself. Of course, every vehicle on the road has headlights. And you know that you need them to navigate the streets when the sun goes down.

However, it is critical to understand just how important the proper use of headlights is to your safety and the safety of others.

Low visibility means a high risk of accidents

A serious risk that drivers face is visibility. Many sources agree that driving at night is actually more dangerous than driving during the day, with nearly 50% of fatal crashes happening when it is dark outside. And the risk is even greater on unlit, rural roads.

Headlights are a crucial feature to help reduce risk of an accident during the night and on dark roads. It is common knowledge that headlights are not only critical to help you see – they also help ensure other drivers can see you.

They are essential, and yet the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that many headlights do not light up roads effectively enough. The IIHS evaluates vehicles and safety features annually, and only 20% of vehicle headlights received a “good” rating in 2020.

What are the state laws regarding headlights?

Tennessee law requires that drivers use their headlights in certain conditions, including:

  • 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise
  • In foggy, rainy or smoky conditions
  • If drivers cannot see more than 200 feet in front of them

Drivers should follow these rules for their own safety, as well as that of others. Additionally, it is critical to point out that it is a driver’s duty of care to follow traffic laws like this.

What should you do?

Naturally, it is important to use your headlights.

Thankfully, many vehicles have automatic headlights nowadays, but there are still older models and even some new models that still require drivers to manually turn their headlights on. Whether headlights are manual or automatic, it is critical for all drivers to check their cars and:

  • Make sure their headlights – and all lights – are in working order
  • Keep their headlights clean and clear of debris or dirt
  • Change their headlights, especially if they have an older vehicle

Headlights play a larger role in drivers’ safety than many believe. And they are a feature that should not be overlooked whenever you take to the road.

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