High beam headlights must be used at night, whenever you’re unable to see sufficient of the road ahead to drive safely.

You are watching: Your high beam headlights illuminate the road in front of you for:

Low visibility in ~ night have the right to be scary for even the most experienced drivers. Why is driving after ~ dark more dangerous? 90 percent of a driver’s reactions depend on acute vision, including depth perception, shade recognition, and peripheral vision, all of which become severely minimal at night. High-beam headlights shine in ~ an edge to illuminate the road 350 to 400 feet ahead or around twice as far as low beams. (Remember that 68 mph equals around 100 feet per second. Once you take trip at highway speeds at night, short beams may offer you just a second or 2 to reaction to a hazard.)

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While high beams assist keep friend safe, castle can also endanger other vehicle drivers if you use them incorrectly. Every states have actually laws requiring you come dim your high-beam headlights whenever over there is a risk of blinding other drivers. The specific distance varies from state to state, yet typically, high beam headlights must not be offered within 500 feet of an approaching auto or within 200 or 300 feet of another vehicle you following.

When to usage High-Beam Headlights to stay Safe


Low visibility in city areas

You may uncover yourself driving on a dark city street, on an unfamiliar road, or in a building and construction zone. It’s unnerving come realize that you’re unable to view the road ahead. As soon as your vision is impaired, sluggish down. If there room no other vehicles nearby, turn on her high beams. Your high beams will also protect pedestrians and bicyclists who may be ~ above the side of the roadway or cross in former of you. In urban areas, state law frequently requires you come dim high beams in ~ 300 come 1000 feet of pull close vehicles. Friend must likewise dim them in ~ 200 come 300 feet of vehicles you’re following, especially at protect against signs and traffic lights.

Interstate highways

Visibility on part interstate highways or their on- and also off-ramps might be poor. There might be long stretches of road that are only illuminated by her headlights. In those low-visibility conditions, use your high-beam headlights to rise your the town hall range. However, dim your high beams as soon as you’re close to other vehicles, even on divided highways. Examine with your regional DMV because that the precise distance your state requires. As soon as you’re approaching an additional vehicle native behind ~ above an federal government highway or in ~ a toy fee plaza or remainder area, always dim her high beams to avoid blinding the driver.

Rural areas and also country roads with few streetlights

On countryside roads and also open highways, street lighting might be sparse, which can make driving much more treacherous after ~ dark. Her high-beam headlights will let you watch farther under the road. In rural areas, high beams also aid you prevent hitting animals, bicyclists, or pedestrians taking a late-evening stroll. While nation roads may show up deserted, be prepared to conveniently dim your high beams because that approaching website traffic or when you approach one more vehicle indigenous behind. By dimming her high beams, you will do it be protecting other drivers.

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When not to usage your high-beam headlights


Don"t use your high beams as soon as driving in fog, rain, or snow

Never use your high-beam headlights while you are driving in fog, rain, or snow. In together conditions, they can make her vision also worse. High beams will certainly shine directly into the fog or precipitation, which will certainly reflect the glowing light earlier to you. During snowstorms, snowflakes and ice crystals will certainly reflect even much more light earlier to you. The dangerous result is a wall of glare, which will certainly make it even more complicated for friend to check out the road.