When You Should Use Headlights: Headlight Laws in PA
The first Sunday of November marks the end of Daylight Savings Time, which means clocks move back one hour. This time change occurs at 2 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and becomes 1 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST), thereby extending our sleep. Although we’re gaining an hour of rest, we’re losing sunlight and have to adjust our schedules accordingly.
Since the late fall and winter months consist of shorter days and longer nights, drivers need to consider how and when they’re using their headlights to ensure everyone’s safety while on the road. Additionally, each state has its own set of headlight laws. Here are the headlight laws specific to Pennsylvania.
When PA Drivers Should Use Their Headlights
In Pennsylvania, headlights must be on:
- From sunset to sunrise. As the sun continuously sets earlier during this time of year, drivers must adjust when they turn on their headlights. Many vehicles now come equipped with the option of automatic headlights in which drivers no longer need to turn their headlights on manually. Instead, photoelectric sensors detect ambient light levels to activate the vehicle’s headlights automatically. If your car does not feature automatic headlights, make sure that you turn them on anytime you’re driving after the sun goes down or before it rises as this can affect your commute.
- When you have difficulty seeing at least 1,000 feet ahead. Any time a driver cannot fully distinguish another vehicle or person from a distance of at least 1,000 feet, they must turn on their headlights. Reasons why a driver may have difficulty seeing include inadequate light and inclement weather involving fog, rain, snow, sleet, or hail.
- When your windshield wipers are in continuous or intermittent use. Precipitation can lead to rain, snow, or sleet, which means your windshield wipers will be on to help you see what’s ahead. Whenever drivers have their windshield wipers in continuous or intermittent use, they must have their headlights on too.
- When driving in posted work zones. When drivers travel through posted work zones, they must turn on their headlights. This law is in effect whether the work zone is active or not. There will be signs posted, often accompanied by a white flashing light, notifying drivers when they enter and leave a work zone.
Why You Should Use Headlights When You Drive
Of the many lights incorporated within a vehicle, headlights are the most important. They improve visibility on the road and allow you and other vehicles to see each other. Drivers should also be mindful of the fines associated with failure to use headlights, which start at $25 and can reach up to $100 with other associated costs.