Traffic safety is a huge issue and can be impacted by doing a few things that may seem like common sense or law, but may or may not surprise you in how often they are not followed.
Drivers know that it’s important to turn on headlights or tail lights, but they still happen and more often than we’d like to admit.
It’s common knowledge that being more visible may be the difference between getting hit and staying safe – so why not extend that knowledge to headlights.
According to Washington State code, vehicles headlights are “required to be on from a half hour after sunset, to a half hour before sunrise, and at any other times when persons and vehicles are not clearly discernible at 1000 ft. (RCW 46.37.020).
However, I can’t count how many times I’ve driven home in complete darkness only to be confronted with a headlightless vehicle. Once, I was confronted with a driver who KNEW they were driving a vehicle at night with zero kinds of lights and did it anyways…something not only dangerous, but highly illegal.
The law, as its’ written, doesn’t just mean at night, it also means in the fog, snow, or other weather patters when vehicles can’t be seen UNLESS they have headlights on.
It also helps depending on what color vehicle you have. A red car won’t be as visible at sunset as it is in full day, while a dark blue Miata (like the Mazdarati) isn’t quite visible at any time of day due to the fact that the blue is very close to the gray of the road.
Pay attention to oncoming traffic during your next commute (don’t pay attention so much you crash…) and you’ll notice that gray, dirty-white, silver, non-vibrant blue, and tan vehicles tend to be hard to see in compromised visibility.
Headlamp modifications that are also illegal include lights that are any color other than white and conversion kits from conventional halogen lights to High Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting.
The same thing goes for the tail lights. Why not make yourself more visible?
Just like with headlights, tail lamps are “required to be on from hour after sunset, to hour before sunrise, and at any other times when persons and vehicles are not clearly discernible at 1000 ft.” (RCW 46.37.020)
Tail lights are easier merely because they are tied to the on/off switch of a vehicles headlights, they can also be turned on without the headlights being on – usually associated with the parking lights or side markers.
However, the two biggest concerns with tail lights is if A) you remember to check whether the bulbs work or not – dead bulbs do zero good for visibility, and B) the Murder Out’ light look, obtained by placing black film on all lights and windows; which is also highly illegal in this state.
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The sad part about this whole article, is the fact that it has to be written at all.
Simply by checking ALL your lights (headlights, brake lights and tail lights) will you know you’re completely lit at night – no not on the recently regulated marijuana in Washington…
One would think that the safety of ones self and the safety of others would be paramount, instead its overlooked for convenience or as a way to save time. Even the most vibrant of cars can be difficult to see at certain times of the day, even the Caribbean Blue Kia Soul EV would be hard to see at night without headlights.
If we all just took the time to think through our actions we’d all make our roads a safer place to drive. So, Puget Sound… Turn on your headlights, make sure all your lights work properly and remember: Lights Save Lives.