State Law Tells When Headlights Must Be On

September 28, 2010

With the hours of daylight dwindling, drivers must turn on their headlights more frequently to see and to be seen by other motorists, says the Wisconsin State Patrol.

State law dictates that drivers must use headlights from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise and any other time they cannot see a vehicle or person on the roadway from 500 feet away.

The Wisconsin State Patrol says drivers should use high beams – which let you see twice as far – whenever there are no oncoming vehicles.

But the law requires drivers to dim their headlights to low beams when they are within 500 feet (about one-tenth mile) of an oncoming vehicle, when they are following 500 feet or less behind another vehicle, and when traffic is heavy.

Low beams should also be used, says the State Patrol, when driving in fog, snow or heavy rain. Light from high beams would reflect off the precipitation and cause glare.

A citation for failing to use headlights when required or for failing to dim high beams within 500 feet of another vehicle will cost a driver $148.20 plus three demerit points on his or her record.