Knowing how and when to use your headlights and high beams is a very important thing to know for your own safety. Your headlights allows other cars to see you better, especially at night or other times when visibility is low.
Your high beams are essential when traveling in the dark, and need to be able to still see well. This is especially important if you are travelling in areas with lots of wildlife because it allows you to see further. This gives you more time to slow down or stop if you see an animal on the road.
Fortunately learning how to properly use your cars lights is super easy, and no tools or special skills will be needed. Let’s get started…
Your headlight switch will usually either be located at the end of the lever you use for your blinker. It is the lever on the left side of your steering wheel.
If your headlight switch isn’t there, sometimes it is placed on the dash to the left side of your steering wheel. It just depends on your vehicle manufacture’s preferences.
Typically your headlight switch will have 3 or 4 options to choose from. The first option is the “Off” position, and sometimes there will be an “O” symbol instead.
The second option is for your parking lights. These are the little orange lights in the front of your car. Choose this option if you are sitting in a parking lot with your car running, and you either need to light up your dashboard, and/or make your car visible without turning on your full headlights.
The third option is turning on your headlights. Typically it is the safest to always have your headlights on even during the day as it makes your car more visible, thus safer while driving. However check with your state laws for when headlight use is required.
The fourth option is usually the “Auto” option. Most people will leave their headlight switch in this position because it automatically turns your headlights on when your car is running and turns them off once you shut your car off.
Unfortunately not all vehicles have this function, so for the rest of us you will have to remember to turn your headlights off manually every time. (Or risk draining your battery!)
To turn on your high beams, locate your blinker lever again. This is usually the lever coming out of the left side of your steering column. Now push the lever away from you, and you should feel it click into place, and your high beams should now be on. If you want to turn off your high beams, simply pull the lever towards you again to do so.
Alternatively, if you just need to use your high beams briefly you can simply pull the lever towards you. This will turn on your high beams until you let go of the lever, since it will not lock into place.
Also note, when your high beams are on, there will be a little icon that will appear in your dashboard to let you know they are still on. This is very important because it serves as a reminder your high beams are on (it’s very easy to forget about them), and you’ll need to be able to remember to turn them off when a car is coming towards you, or you are coming up behind another vehicle.
If you don’t turn them off in time, you risk impairing the other driver’s vision because your lights are too bright.
If you live in the United States, your high beam laws will vary depending on which sate you’re in. This article by Your Mechanic explains the laws of use for Headlights, High Beams, and Hazard Lights in every state.
Remember it is important to follow these laws because leaving your high beams on can cause other drivers to be blinded by the bright light. This can cause bad accidents to happen, so make sure you’re aware of when your high beams are on or off.
Headlights unfortunately don’t last forever and will sometimes need to be replaced. It is good to check them at least once per month before you start driving. Being caught with a burnt out headlight could get you pulled over by the police and leave you with an expensive ticket!
To check them, simply start your car, then turn your headlight switch to the “on” position. While your car is running but still in (P) Park (and make sure your doors are unlocked too), walk to the front of your vehicle to make sure both lights are working.
Additionally, walk to the back of your vehicle to make sure your taillights are both working as well.
If your headlights are looking foggy and not giving off as much light as they used to, you may want to consider investing in this Headlight Lens Restoration System by 3M. This will turn your foggy looking headlights back into clear headlights that look brand new. Just look at the comparison below:
So hopefully this article answered all of your questions relating to your headlights and high beams. Remember that it is very important to follow your state’s laws when it comes to operating your headlights correctly. This is very important because it not only improves your safety, but the safety of other drivers on the road as well.
Also remember to turn off your lights if you don’t have an “auto” light function on your vehicle. If you don’t, you risk using up all of your battery power and you won’t be able to start your car the next time you go to drive!
If you have any questions or comments, please drop us a message in the comment box below. And like always, please share this article with your friends and family if you found it helpful. Safe driving!
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