That’s Too Bright! The Serious and Sometimes Illegal Headlight Problem in Texas
We see it all to often nowadays on the streets of East Texas, people driving with their headlights off or someone has headlights that are entirely too bright. How do they Not know their lights are off? How do they not realize their headlights are hurting the other drivers on the road? It's becoming very frustrating and very dangerous in some cases. Texas does have laws regarding this issue and we'll go over them below.
Purpose of Your Headlights
Your headlights serve a couple of purposes. One is to allow you to see what's in front of you when driving at night. The other is to allow other people to see you either at night, during inclement weather or in the dust and dawn parts of the day. Problem is, there are a select group of people who don't turn their headlights on at all. Some of that has to do with the modern dashboard. It is always lit up which makes it seem like the headlights are on. Cars nowadays have sensors built in that will automatically turn on your headlights when the natural light gets dim. For whatever reason, some just don't keep this option on.
Headlights That are Too Bright
There is also a big problem of headlights being too bright. Some of that has to do with the new LED headlights in newer cars. Another issue is some have installed aftermarket headlamps that are either too bright or are not aligned correctly. Headlights are positioned in the front of the vehicle to not shine up into the mirrors of the vehicle in front. There are also headlights that illuminate too much. Almost like a spotlight for night construction instead of just seeing the road.
The Texas Laws About Headlights
For those who keep it off and "forget" to turn their lights on (again, how does someone forget to do this), they are technically breaking Texas law. You can find the law in section 547.321 of the Texas Transportation Code:
Sec. 547.321. HEADLAMPS REQUIRED. (a) A motor vehicle shall be equipped with at least two headlamps.
(b) At least one headlamp shall be mounted on each side of the front of the vehicle.
(c) Each headlamp shall be mounted at a height from 24 to 54 inches.
That also means that if a headlight is burned out, it must be replaced immediately. You can be ticketed for it.
The law also covers when headlights should be turned on:
Sec. 547.302. DUTY TO DISPLAY LIGHTS. (a) A vehicle shall display each lighted lamp and illuminating device required by this chapter to be on the vehicle:
(1) at nighttime; and
(2) when light is insufficient or atmospheric conditions are unfavorable so that a person or vehicle on the highway is not clearly discernible at a distance of 1,000 feet ahead.
Its not stated in the code but your headlights should be turned on 30 minutes after sunset and remain on while driving until 30 minutes before sunrise.
There are even stipulations in the law as to what color those lights must be:
Sec. 547.326. MINIMUM LIGHTING EQUIPMENT REQUIRED. (a) A vehicle that is not specifically required to be equipped with lamps or other lighting devices shall be equipped at the times specified in Section 547.302(a) with at least one lamp that emits a white light visible at a distance of at least 1,000 feet from the front
Sec. 547.303. COLOR REQUIREMENTS. (a) Unless expressly provided otherwise, a lighting device or reflector mounted on the rear of a vehicle must be or reflect red.
(b) A signaling device mounted on the rear of a vehicle may be red, amber, or yellow.
And here it is folks, turn signals are required on every vehicle:
Sec. 547.324. TURN SIGNAL LAMPS REQUIRED. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer shall be equipped with electric turn signal lamps that indicate the operator's intent to turn by displaying flashing lights to the front and rear of a vehicle or combination of vehicles and on that side of the vehicle or combination toward which the turn is to be made.
Use them. "Its no body's business where I'm going." Uh, yes it is. Otherwise you'll cause a wreck because the drivers around you didn't know your intention. And yes, you can get a ticket if you are not following these laws.
Yes, we are free to do whatever we won't in the United States of America. But freedom doesn't mean there are not restrictions or rules that must be followed. Otherwise, the chaos that we think we're experiencing now can be multiplied by a thousand. We don't want that at all.
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