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Summary
  • High-beams are intended to be used for highway driving at night.
  • Avoid using high-beams when driving near other vehicles.
  • High-beams are not intended for low-visibility conditions. Fog, rain, or snow have particles that can scatter because of the light, making it harder for you to see the road.

Due to their sheer power, high-beam lights should be used with the following in mind:

  • They must be used for highway driving at night.
  • They should be dimmed when approaching other vehicles.
  • They must be switched off in urban areas.

When Should High-Beam Lights Be Used?

High-beam lights come in handy when you’re driving in total darkness. They’re especially helpful when you’re alone and far from other vehicles. This means you should activate your high beams whenever you drive on long and lonely stretches like highways and country roads.

car using high beam light a night
High-beam lights come in handy when you’re driving in total darkness.

When Should You Avoid Using High-Beam Lights?

While high-beam lights are useful thanks to their powerful illumination, using them can hamper the vision of other drivers. This is why it’s important to dim your high-beam lights when driving near other vehicles. Similarly, they should be switched off entirely whenever you drive in urban areas like towns and cities.

High beams should also be switched off when you drive in conditions with low visibility like when it’s foggy, raining, or snowing. This is because the particles in the air scatter the light, making it more difficult to see whatever’s in front of you.

High-Beam Laws For All 50 States

The laws concerning the use of high beams differ from state to state. If you want to familiarize yourself with the different high-beam laws according to the states, read on.

Alabama

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 200 feet of another vehicle

Alaska

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 300 feet of another vehicle

Arizona

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 200 feet of another vehicle

The use of high-beam lights in foggy weather is also prohibited.

Arkansas

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 200 feet of another vehicle

The use of high-beam lights in rain, snow, and fog is also prohibited.

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California

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic

Colorado

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 200 feet of another vehicle

The use of high-beam lights in fog is prohibited. However, fog lights are allowed.

Connecticut

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 300 feet of another vehicle

Delaware

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 200 feet of another vehicle

Florida

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 300 feet of another vehicle

High beam lights also cannot be used with street lights, and they are to be used in open country.

Georgia

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 200 feet of another vehicle

The use of high-beam lights in lighted roads, rain, snow, fog, and smoke is also prohibited. In addition, high-beam lights can only be used in rural areas.

Hawaii

You must dim your high beam lights when:

  • Meeting with traffic

Idaho

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 200 feet of another vehicle

Illinois

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 300 feet of another vehicle

Indiana

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 200 feet of another vehicle

Iowa

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 1000 feet of traffic
  • 400 feet of another vehicle

Kansas

You must dim your high beam lights when:

  • Other vehicles approach you
  • You are driving in fog

Kentucky

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 200 feet of another vehicle

Your high beams must be strong enough to make people within 350 in front of you completely visible.

Louisiana

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic

Maine

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 300 feet of another vehicle

Maryland

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 300 feet of another vehicle

Massachusetts

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 200 feet of another vehicle

Michigan

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 1000 feet of traffic
  • 200 feet of another vehicle
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Minnesota

You must dim your high beam lights when:

  • You are driving behind a commercial vehicle after sundown
  • You are within 1000 feet of traffic
  • You are within 200 feet of another vehicle

High beams should be used as frequently as possible. However, you cannot leave your high beams on after parking your car.

Mississippi

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic

Missouri

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 300 feet of another vehicle

Montana

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 1000 feet of traffic
  • 500 feet of another vehicle

Nebraska

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 200 feet of another vehicle

High beams must also be dimmed when you approach oncoming traffic.

Nevada

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 300 feet of another vehicle

New Hampshire

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 150 feet of another vehicle

New Jersey

Whenever you approach vehicles, either from the front or behind, you must dim your high beams.

New Mexico

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 200 feet of another vehicle

New York

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 200 feet of another vehicle

You must also dim your high beams when pedestrians are near your vehicle.

North Carolina

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic

North Dakota

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 300 feet of another vehicle

Ohio

High beams must be dimmed whenever you approach other vehicles.

Oklahoma

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 1000 feet of traffic
  • 600 feet of another vehicle

Oregon

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 350 feet of another vehicle

Pennsylvania

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 300 feet of another vehicle

Rhode Island

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 200 feet of another vehicle

The use of high beams is prohibited in all driving conditions with low visibility such as rain, fog, or snow.

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South Carolina

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 200 feet of another vehicle

South Dakota

High beams must be dimmed whenever you overtake a vehicle from behind or from the front.

Tennessee

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 500 feet of another vehicle

Texas

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 300 feet of another vehicle

The use of high beams is prohibited when driving in fog, rain, sleet, dust, or rain. In addition, they cannot be used whenever you drive on lighted roads.

Utah

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 300 feet of another vehicle

Vermont

Drivers must dim their high beams when approaching other vehicles. They must also be turned off when driving on roads with street lights, or when following another vehicle. In addition, their use is prohibited in foggy conditions.

Virginia

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 200 feet of another vehicle

High beams should also not be used when driving in urban areas like towns and cities unless no other lighting is available.

Washington

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 300 feet of another vehicle

The use of high beams is prohibited in fog, snow, or rain.

West Virginia

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 200 feet of another vehicle

The use of high beams is prohibited in urban areas like cities and towns unless no other lighting is available.

Wisconsin

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 500 feet of another vehicle

High beams cannot be used when driving in conditions with low visibility like fog, rain, or snow.

Wyoming

You must dim your high beam lights when within:

  • 500 feet of traffic
  • 300 feet of another vehicle

The use of high-beam lights when driving on rural highways is encouraged.

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Automotive Features Reviewer at CarParts.com

Lisa Conant grew up in Canada around a solid contingency of gear heads and DIY motor enthusiasts. She is an eclectic writer with a varied repertoire in the automotive industry, including research pieces with a focus on daily drivers and recreational vehicles. Lisa has written for Car Bibles and The Drive.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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