If you’re driving at night, it’s courtesy to dim your headlights in certain situations. These can be easy to forget or misremember, so here’s your friendly reminder to be courteous on the road and dim your headlights accordingly.
You should dim your headlights when an oncoming motor vehicle comes within 500 feet of your vehicle. You should also dim your headlights when you can’t see more than 100 feet ahead of you or if you can’t see the vehicle in front of you at all.
As a driver, you’ve surely experienced the feeling of being blinded by another driver’s headlights at night. That uncomfortable moment when it’s too bright to even make out the car ahead of you.
Thankfully there are certain protocols that can be followed in order to help avoid this issue. Dimming your headlights at night while driving should be one of them!
Not only is it more courteous towards other drivers, but it will also make journeys safer as both parties involved will benefit from better visibility and enhanced safety measures
Having to dim your headlights at night might be an annoying extra step you have to take while driving. But it’s an important one to keep you and other drivers safe.
In this blog post, we’ll explore when exactly you should dim your headlights so that all motorists remain comfortable and safe.
If You’re Driving at Night, Dim Your Headlights When There’s Oncoming Traffic
If you’ve ever been blinded by an oncoming car that forgot (or refused) to dim their headlights, then you know just how dangerous it is.
For just a split second, you can’t see anything but those bright lights, leaving you without a frame of reference for where the side of the road is. This is especially dangerous on dark roads with no lighting.
Always dim your lights when an oncoming car comes within 500 feet of you. Failing to do so is illegal.
When You’re Driving in Foggy Conditions
High beams are useful for seeing at longer distance in regular conditions. In foggy conditions, however, low beams have a downward projection angle and less intense focus. This results in better road visibility.
High beams, contrary to what you might think, are actually dangerous in foggy conditions. Because the glare can reflect off the water droplets in the air and reduce visibility.
Always use your low beams in foggy conditions to stay safe.
When You Are Behind Another Car
Reduce your headlamps to a dim setting once you reach 100 feet behind another driver so that everyone is cruising safely. It’s not only courteous, it’s required by law!
What if an Oncoming Car Fails to Dim Their Headlights?
If you find yourself in a situation where an oncoming car’s headlights are blinding, fight the urge to focus your gaze ahead. Instead, focus your eyes on the white line at the right edge of the road.
This way you can still see what lies ahead without sacrificing visibility from being temporarily blinded by another drivers high beam lights.
Final Thoughts: When to Dim Your Headlights
There are a number of situations you should be aware of driving at night, and consideration for other drivers’ safety should be at the top of your list.
Most importantly, if you’re driving at night, dim your lights when there’s an oncoming vehicle.
Use your best judgment when it comes to dimming your headlights. If you can’t see more than 100 feet ahead of you then it’s a good idea to dim your headlights.
And, of course, if an oncoming vehicle comes within 500 feet of your vehicle, you should definitely dim your headlights.
Last Updated on January 30, 2023
Loves anything with a motor and wheels.
Christopher is an automotive technical writer. When he’s not at the local autocross event, he can often be found working on one of his cars. Specializes in automotive class action law, industry trends, and automotive maintenance. Email me direct, or learn more about us