Dipped headlights give you much better visibility at night than your sidelights, and make you more visible while minimising the glare to other drivers.
Although legally you can just use your sidelights at night so long as you’re driving under 30mph in a well-lit area, most people opt for dipped headlights instead – they do a much better job at lighting up the road ahead.
- Do use your dipped headlights if you’re driving at night. This isn’t only to help you see – it means other drivers can see YOU.
- Do use your dipped headlights in the daytime if visibility is reduced – like in fog, heavy rain or snow.
- Do use dipped headlights if you are overtaking. When you’re level with the other vehicle, you can switch to full beams if you need to.
- Do check your bulbs regularly and replace them straight away if one stops working – it’s cheap and quick to do.
Don’t get caught out.
If you get stopped by the police with only one headlight working, you could get:
- A verbal warning
- A non-endorsable Fixed Penalty Notice with no penalty points and £30 fine
- An endorsable Fixed Penalty Notice with 3 penalty points and £60 fine
- A Roadside Prohibition Notice, giving you 10 days to get the light fixed
How to use your full beam headlights
These are the brightest lights your car has, and they’re angled to give as much visibility in the dark as possible.
So why not just use them all the time? Because they’re so bright that they will dazzle other road users, which could cause a crash.
- Do use full beams at night on an empty stretch of road or motorway
- Don’t use your full beam headlights in the daytime even if visibility is poor. Use your sidelights or dipped headlights instead
- Don’t use your full beams because one of your dipped headlights isn’t working. It’s dangerous! It’s actually safer to drive with just 1 dipped headlight than risk dazzling other drivers
Don’t get caught out
Although there are no laws directly relating to using full beams, if you do have them on at the wrong time and dazzle other road users, you could get points on your licence for driving without due care and attention.