Use vehicle lights correctly

The lights of a car have several simultaneous functions. They serve not only to see, but also to be seen by other users. 

A motor vehicle is an imposing machine, which drives at a fast speed, and can therefore quickly prove dangerous if other users cannot ensure its presence on the road.

Use vehicle lights correctly
Use vehicle lights correctly

How to use your lights?

The use of car lights varies according to the driving situation. The driver’s attitudes are different depending on whether it’s dark, raining, or snowing. These circumstances can even add up, making driving even more uncomfortable, and therefore accidental. The situations identified as specific include rain, night, fog, snow, ice, wind, sun. The first 4 cases require specific handling of the car lights.

Equipment update

The various lights available to the user on a passenger car are:

  • position lights (be seen, range 30 meters)
  • dipped headlamps (see and be seen, range 100 meters)
  • the main-beam headlamps (see below)
  • front fog lamps (see and be seen)
  • Rear fog lamps (be seen).

Not all vehicles are equipped with front or rear fog lamps.

Which lights to use in which situation?

Driving at night

When driving at night, the user must always turn on his dipped-beam headlamps. On a road where it circulates alone, it can favor the main lights. However, he must turn his dipped-beam headlamps on when crossing or following another vehicle, as the main-beam headlamps are very dazzling. On a winding road with a narrow road, the combination of driving lights with front fog lights is optimal.

Driving in the rain

In case of heavy rain, the driver shall switch on his position lamps in tandem with his front fog lamps, OR his passing lamps with the front fog lamps.

Driving in the fog

As their names indicate, fog lamps are well suited to such a situation. For low fog, the position lamps with front fog lamps allow the user and his vehicle to be seen. Heavy mist requires the use of fog lamps on both sides (front and rear), accompanied by passing lamps.

Driving when it snows

As soon as the first flakes fall, the user must use his dipped-beam headlamps. It may also add its front fog lamps to complete visibility. If the snowfall is in progress with increased driving difficulties, it is possible to turn on the front and rear fog lamps in addition to its passing lamps.

Abuse and misuse of fires

While it is fairly easy to know in which situations a user is using his or her traffic lights correctly, certain uses of the lights, such as the use of the main-beam headlights in the city or rear fog lights in rainy weather, maybe abuse the lights, which can be sanctioned.

The driver must also be careful, as the use of different lights is not necessarily the same once outside French territory. The user must therefore ensure that he is informed about the laws relating to the lights in the country where he wishes to drive. The rules are not identical everywhere in the world, and the Highway Code differs even between European countries.

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