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When must you use dipped headlights during the day?

A In poor visibility.

You MUST use dipped headlights and/or fog lights in fog when visibility is seriously reduced to 100 metres (328 feet) or less. You should use dipped headlights, but NOT fog lights, when visibility is poor, such as in heavy rain.

Related Information

If you're new to night driving, you may not have heard of dipped headlights. Even if you're not acquainted with the word, you probably know more about it than you think. In actuality, dipped headlights is merely another way of expressing "headlights". They are commonly referred to as dipped or low-beam because they are pointed downwards, providing enough light to move by in poor visibility without blinding other vehicles.

Your headlights not only help you see ahead, but they are also linked to your tail lights, making you visible to other road users travelling behind you.

In some cases, turning on your full—or main—beam headlights will provide you with a better field of vision. These are housed in the same headlamp assembly as normal headlights, however they are substantially brighter. Full beams are also angled higher, allowing you to see further and broader than dipped beams, allowing you to anticipate risks sooner. They are, however, too intense to employ when there are other cars in front of you travelling in the same direction or approaching you from the opposite side of the road.

Full beams are confined to the front of your vehicle to avoid blinding drivers behind you; when you choose full beam headlights, your tail lights will remain on but will not brighten.

When should dipped headlights should be used?

With three different levels of lighting available to you—sidelights, dipped headlights, and full beams—you'll frequently have to choose which choice is best for your current scenario.

According to The Highway Code, rule 113, the headlights should be stuck on:


- ensure all sidelights and rear registration plate lights are lit between sunset and sunrise

- use headlights at night, except on a road which has lit street lighting. These roads are generally restricted to a speed limit of 30 mph (48 km/h) unless otherwise specified

- use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced (see Rule 226).

Night (the hours of darkness) is defined as the period between half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise).

Laws RVLR regs 3, 24, & 25, (In Scotland - RTRA 1984 sect 82 (as amended by NRSWA, para 59 of sched 8))"

Even so, there are lots of occasions when driving with your sidelights on instead of your headlights is completely legal, for example, when the weather is just a little dim. You may even drive on sidelights at night, as long as you're in a well-lit, built-up region with a speed restriction of 30mph or lower. You must use your judgment in these cases. If in doubt, choose headlights over sidelights since they will allow you to see far more of the road ahead and will make your car more visible to other drivers.



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