The proper use of headlights is a simple task yet a lot of drivers still take it lightly. Correctly using your headlights promotes your safety, as well as other motorists’. Remember that headlights are not only used to illuminate where you’re going, but it also has the important function of making you visible to other drivers on the road.
Headlights have different settings and it’s your responsibility as a driver to know how and when to use each setting. You need to make sure that your settings are appropriate to the weather condition and time of the day you’re driving to maximize road visibility and minimize the risk of road accidents.
Headlights can be set up in two modes: low beam and high beam. Low beam is best used in daily driving conditions (e.g., cruising the city or traversing crowded streets). Low beams, also known as passing beams or dipped beams, generally should be turned on when visibility is less than 150 meters or when driving in cramped roads where other vehicles are less than 60 meters ahead of your car.
In addition, low beam lights should be used in the following times and conditions:
- An hour before sunrise and an hour after sunset (transition hours of day to night and vice versa)
- Congested city roads at night
- Heavy rain or snow
It is best to use dipped beams during conditions mentioned above because they provide just the right amount of brightness needed at these times. Their short-range illumination disperses evenly in the atmosphere, so they won’t blind drivers of oncoming cars.
It’s also best to drive with low beams instead of high beams during foggy conditions. High beam headlights provide long-range illumination and a strong gleam. This kind of light doesn’t penetrate fog and is instead reflected back, causing glare. High beams, also called “main beams,” are mostly used in rural areas, highways, and other roads where there’s less traffic.
Headlight controls are found either on your dashboard or on the left stalk toggle switch of your steering wheel.
How to Turn On Low Beam Headlights
Make sure both your car’s headlight modes are functioning properly before driving. Start by going over your light controls, which are usually located either on the dashboard or on a lever attached behind the steering wheel. In newer vehicles, the controls are commonly found on the latter.
Testing out the different modes of your headlights can be a bit tricky if you are doing it alone, so it’s best to have a friend assist you. Ask your friend to stand in front of your car and observe your headlights as you test out each mode. If no one’s available to help you, simply park your car facing a wall. Flash each headlight setting on the wall and observe how bright the lights are when reflected (take note of the light’s angle, too).
To make sure your headlights are switched off, point the toggle switch or the dial to the word “off” or to a no-fill circle symbol. The low beam icon is usually right next to the off position symbol and looks like a letter “D” that has slanting lines on the flat side of the D sign. Simply point your switch to the low beam symbol to turn on your dipped beam headlights. On the other hand, you can opt for high beam headlights by pushing and pulling the turn signal lever.
To sum it up, use low beams when road visibility is relatively poor. Use high beam headlights only along highways or during extreme weather conditions. In addition, you should always make sure that your headlights are in tiptop shape. Head over to CarParts.com if you need premium replacement headlights. You can check out our wide selection right here.