When Should You Turn on Your Headlights In New York 2023?

March 16, 2023

Sometimes you might wonder, “When should you turn on your headlights.” Well, you are required by law to use headlights from a half-hour after dusk to a half-hour before dawn. 

Also, you can turn on your headlights when the weather is so terrible that you must use your windshield wipers.

When Should You Turn on Your Headlights In New York?

when should you turn on your headlights after sunset


Also, you should use them if you have trouble seeing other motorists or they might have difficulty seeing you. For instance, if you’re cruising a narrow mountain road.

If you must use your high lights for any reason, ensure to dim them when you are 200 feet fewer behind a vehicle traveling in your direction or when you are 500 feet or less from an approaching vehicle. 

If you forget to down your high lights, the vehicle ahead of you may crash because you are blinded.

Utilizing Headlights During Harsh Weather

But you shouldn’t only use your headlights at night. Use your headlights whenever it is dark and difficult to see the path ahead, such as when it is raining, foggy, or stormy outside.

But, only utilize your low beams when it is raining or snowing because these conditions might cause high beam light to be reflected at you, rendering visibility more difficult.

Headlights Throughout the Night and Day 

when should you turn on your headlights at night


New Yorkers are compelled to use their headlights from one half-hour after dusk to one half-hour before sunrise. 

You must drive at a pace that enables you to safely stop within the 350 feet that your vehicle’s headlights illuminate in front of you. 

Due to the decreased visibility, nighttime driving is more hazardous than daytime driving; therefore, you should always slow down as the sun sets. 

Be aware that so many people’s ability to see clearly at night depreciates with age. As you reach new milestones in your life, keep that in mind. 

Remember to be courteous to other motorists when using your high switch and beams to your lower beam headlights whenever you’re close to an approaching car or the car in front of you.

Listen for unobservable traffic. For the clearest vision, use your defroster and wipers as needed. You should stop off the road if the fog gets so dense that it makes it difficult to see. Check the rearview mirror for oncoming automobiles. 

Driving should not resume until you have greater visibility. If you don’t turn off your lights, someone might hit you if they notice your taillights.

Turning on Headlights When Driving in the Rain

It’s important to turn your headlights on when driving in the rain since sometimes it tends to be dark. This might affect your vision when driving and the vision of other drivers and road users.

On top of that, you want other drivers to see you and avoid causing accidents. Here are some dangers of driving in the rain:

Risks of Driving in the Rain

do you turn on headlights in rain


Some of the key elements that can influence your driving in the rain are listed below:

  • Hydroplaning results in your tires losing traction with the road’s surface, making steering challenging and making it simple to lose control of the vehicle.
  • In wet environments, drivers’ and the car’s controls’ response times are much slower.
  • Potholes and other road dangers can be hidden by standing water. Splashing via puddles can be risky because it reduces visibility for you and other drivers, and substantial volumes of standing water could submerge your car.
  • Hard braking can cause control loss and brake system damage to your car.
  • Rainy weather can impair vision because it reduces visibility.
  • As headlight beams weaken in the rain, light is dispersed and reflected, making it challenging to see other vehicles, road signs, pedestrians, or the road itself.
  • While rain may reduce headlight performance, it’s still essential that you refrain from utilizing your high beams since they may create even more dangerous glare. In terms of being seen by other cars, high beams are also less useful than regular lights.
  • Additionally, speed affects visibility. Rain could make things even more hazy if you’re driving too fast. Additionally, driving slowly is your best option because wet roads significantly slow your car’s reaction time.

Improve Your Visibility While Driving in the Rain

When driving in the rain, you must be capable of seeing your surroundings and being noticed by other drivers. Anytime you require windshield wipers, you should turn on your headlights for better visibility for you and other drivers. This is crucial for safety and is also required by law in most states.

Bicycle and Motorcycle Headlights

In New York, motorcycles must always have their headlights on at night and during the day. This improves motorbike visibility to other motorists and helps avoid fatal traffic collisions. 

On a similar occasion, these lights improve New Yorkers’ visibility of bicycles to reduce accidents and injuries. 

If you intend to go by car to another state, be careful to review its vehicle code to familiarize yourself with any unfamiliar driving regulations. Leave your headlights on if you’re uncertain!

Laws of Headlight in New York City

when should you turn your headlights off


It might not always be clear when New Yorkers have to switch on their headlights when driving until it’s entirely dark outside. 

You could think there’s enough light during dusk or from natural light sources that you won’t require using your headlights. This puts you at risk of getting a ticket since it’s illegal.

Penalties for Headlight Tickets

If you receive a ticket for failing to turn on your headlights when you should have, you could be subject to a $150 fine and a $58 or $63 fee. 

For this traffic infringement, judges are allowed to send someone for a jail sentence of up to one month, though it’s quite unlikely that you will receive this penalty.

Only failing to dim headlights when the law requires them can result in points being added to your driving record.

Final Thoughts

When should you turn on your headlights? This can be quite a challenging question, especially for new drivers.

Modern vehicles frequently include automated headlights that turn on when you turn the ignition. Even if your car’s headlights are on automatic, you should still be aware of headlight regulations if you must drive a relative’s car or rental vehicle. 

With the crucial details in our driving lessons, you won’t forget when to turn on your headlights.