How to Make Sure Your Headlights are Compliant With the Law

When driving, there are a bevy of things you need to take into consideration. On one hand, your own state’s laws can be a confounding mess that seemingly contradicts itself at times. On another hand, venturing out of your state may complicate things further, as their laws may be different. One thing about trucks that are regulated in many areas are headlights. To help you figure out how to stay in compliance, we are here to discuss various laws and regulations surrounding them.

Time of Day

The time of day is definitely the most important factor when it comes to whether you should use your headlights or not. Nighttime is when headlights are at their most useful, and states tend to define when you are expected to use headlights based on sunset and sunrise as opposed to a set time of day. Thus, the time you are expected to switch on your headlights will require common sense to figure out.

While a lot of states specify the time from sunset to sundown, there are also states where the time of day is set from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.

Weather conditions

During certain bad weather conditions, it doesn’t matter if it’s right in the middle of the day, driving can be downright impossible. Whether it’s snow, rain, fog, smoke, or what have you, it’s valuable to keep your headlights on to ensure that people can more easily see you.

Beyond using your headlights in these conditions generally being a good idea, some states require you to use your headlights. However, the kind of weather that these states require headlights may vary. For instance, Minnesotan drivers are required to use their headlights during rain, snow, hail, sleet, and fog, while Arizona only requires rain and ice. Meanwhile, many states do not require the use of headlights at all in these circumstances.

Another factor that sometimes comes up is whether you are using your windshield wipers. For example, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island all require your headlights to be activated while you’re operating your windshield wipers.


Visibility levels may become worse, even outside of poor weather conditions or night driving. Two examples of low-visibility situations include driving in a tunnel and driving on a dirt road. Both of these situations may prove more difficult for other drivers to be able to spot you, thereby making the situation more dangerous for everyone. Additionally, some states may specify a certain threshold of distance. That is, if you cannot see more than 500 feet behind you (for example), you need to have your headlights turned on.

Headlight color

Believe it or not, the color of your headlights actually matters – well, in some areas, anyway. For example, in Connecticut and Kentucky, the laws regarding headlight usage specify that the lights have to be either white or amber. These are the standard colors, and tend to be the most visible. Meanwhile, Delaware does not allow the use of amber lights, only white ones.

Beyond white and amber just being a better choice for visibility, states all require at least one or the other because of federal recommendations. Often, it is illegal to have a light other than white or amber that can be seen from the front of the vehicle.So, if your vehicle has sick custom red headlights, you will want to replace those before you get a ticket for noncompliance. This means no roof lights, no engine compartment lighting, no under-glow.

Damaged headlights

Certain parts of a vehicle may need to be repaired in order to be in compliance with laws and regulations, but when it comes to your headlights, repairing damaged headlights should be considered a top priority. Even if it’s just a crack, that crack can worsen, until you need to spend a lot more to get it replaced outright. Additionally, if a cop catches you with a broken headlight, they may elect to give you a ticket for it.

The reason why they’re likely to give you a ticket is because of how dangerous a broken headlight can be. A broken headlight makes your truck half as visible, whether it be during the night or a snowstorm.

Read the headlight laws for any state you visit regularly

Understanding your own state’s laws and regulations is important, as for most, this is where you spend 95 percent of your time. The last thing you want is for Ford F150 lights to not be in compliance. However, for some people, they may spend a significant amount of time traveling back and forth between their home state and another state, usually for work. Thus, you should make sure that you know how the laws on headlights work to avoid running afoul of them. And, of course, read up on other traffic laws that are relevant to you.

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