All the fancy gadgetry in cars can make it confusing to know when or how to use the basics like lights. Click here to enlighten yourself.

See and Be Seen: Avoiding an Accident by Using Your Car’s Lights Properly

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tail lightsA standard car comes equipped with no fewer than eight different types of lights, all of which serve a specific purpose and need to be used at the right time. You may know to switch your headlights on when you can no longer see the road in front of you, but did you know that by then it could already be too late?

Most of the lights in your car serve dual purposes—for your benefit, as well as the benefit of other drivers. Consequently, if you fail to use your lights properly, you could seriously injure or fatally harm others.

Quit driving in the dark. Enlighten yourself by learning how and when to use your car lights. You may wind up brightening someone’s day.

The Proper Operation of Various Car Lights

  • Low beams. Low beams provide light distribution to give adequate forward and lateral illumination, with the benefit of not being so bright that they blind oncoming traffic. Low beams should be used during periods of poor visibility in order for other cars to see you, as well as periods of diminished light for you to see the road ahead.
  • High beams. High beams provide an intense, central distribution of light in order to illuminate wider areas. Since high beams can’t control glare, it is important that you only use them when there are no cars in front of you, either coming or going.
  • Tail lights. Tail lights are used to help drivers traveling behind to not only recognize that you’re there, but also the distance you are away from them. Tail lights are wired so that they are on whenever the headlights are on. Therefore, as with headlights, tail lights should be used when visibility decreases and you need trailing cars to see you more clearly.
  • Daytime running lights. DRLs provide light in case of overcast, or in some cases fog, to prevent you from needing to turn on your low beams during the day. They’re located in both the front and rear of the car, and generally turn on automatically when you turn the engine on.
  • Brake lights. Brake lights, located to the side of your rear lights and in the rear windshield, signal drivers that you’re slowing down or stopping. Since they’re only activated when you apply the brakes, you can’t technically misuse them. However, if you fail to maintain them or allow them to burn out, you could suffer consequences such as being ticketed, or worse, rear-ended by a driver who didn’t know that you were braking.
  • Fog lights. During foggy situations, headlights should not be used, even though visibility is decreased, as their light tends to refract on the water droplets within the fog, making it even harder to see. Fog lights, on the other hand, are mounted lower in order to prevent refraction and glare. These lights should only be used during a fog, hence their name.
  • Signal lights. Signal lights, also known as turn signals or “blinkers,” are located in both the front and back of the car. When activated, they indicate to other drivers that you may soon slow down and make a turn. Using turn signals is extremely important as they allow other drivers to predict your movements and adjust accordingly.
  • Hazard lights. Also known as flashers, hazard lights are located in the front and back of the vehicle and flash to warn other drivers that you’re experiencing a problem.

The WAInjury team takes our clients’ safety extremely seriously and we want to ensure that you and your family know the importance of proper light use. Share this page via Facebook, Twitter, or email to enlighten your friends and family and to keep them safe.

Category: Car Accidents


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