Road Rules 101: Lights on (and working!) for safety

September 28, 2020 by PEMCO Insurance

​When we say goodbye to Daylight Savings Time in less than a month, the sun will rise at 6:54 a.m. and set at 4:52 p.m. For many of us, that means traveling in the dark as we go to and from work. Are your car's headlights and taillights ready?

Burned out lights put you at greater risk for an accident, since they not only compromise your ability to see, but they make it harder for other drivers to see you. While we do only a quarter of our driving at night, half of all traffic fatalities occur after dark, according to the National Safety Administration. A combination of poor visibility and drowsy or impaired driving fuel those nighttime numbers.

GettyImages-1170636013.jpgIn all states, you can be cited for driving with unsafe, defective equipment, which includes burned out or broken lights. Depending on where you receive the ticket, you may be able to get it excused or reduced if you correct the unsafe condition within a certain time. But you'll still need to go through the time and hassle of proving you made repairs. (That could be showing your receipt for repairs in court. Or, you may be able to take your fixed car to a local sheriff's office or police station for inspection, get the ticket signed off and forward it to the court.)

A simpler, cheaper and, most importantly, safer solution to ensure good visibility: Regularly test your lights in the driveway with a friend or family member. Try low beams and high beams, turn on your blinkers, tap your brakes, and shift the car into reverse to make sure its backup lights come on. If something's not working, schedule a visit to the auto parts store or your mechanic right away.

BONUS TIP: Here's when you're required to use headlights in Washington and Oregon. Spoiler alert: It doesn't go by the clock; it goes by the visibility. And if you're a motorcyclist? Headlights on at all times.

NOTE: While we're experts in loss prevention and home/auto safety, we don't consider ourselves experts in traffic laws or their enforcement. Information shared here is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. If you have legal concerns, we urge you to contact a law enforcement source or attorney in your community.

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