A proposed bill before the Virginia General Assembly would require all drivers in Virginia to have their headlights on at all times.
Lloyd Kinzer, a Reston, Virginia resident, suggested the idea to Delegate Kenneth “Ken” Plum who introduced the legislation to mandate that drivers use their automobile headlights during daylight as well as nighttime hours.
“It’s very simple and very logical, and I think very needed,” Kinzer told WUSA9, a CBS-affiliated TV station in Washington, DC. Kinzer said the purpose of the bill is to make motor vehicles more visible at all times of day, improve safety and reduce accidents on Virginia highways. Kinzer said he has had a couple of close calls with drivers who did not turn on their headlights.
It’s unclear if the legislation will receive enough support to pass the House of Delegates. Plum introduced a similar measure in 2019 that did not advance.
Current Virginia Headlight Laws
Virginia’s current law Virginia State Law 46.2-1030 requires that all drivers on a road in the Commonwealth use illuminated headlights under the following driving conditions:
- from sunset to sunrise
- when windshield wipers are in use as a result of rain, fog, sleet or snow
- when fog, smoke, rain or other conditions reduce visibility to less than 500 feet.
However, headlights are not required during daylight hours if windshield wipers are only being used intermittently for misting rain, sleet or snow.
Failing to use headlights at night or during inclement weather conditions during the day can result in a citation. Knowing when to use headlights can improve traffic safety and reduce the risk of being involved in an accident due to poor visibility.
If you find it difficult to see other cars on the road, turn on your headlights. The other motorists are likely having trouble seeing you, too.
Is Using Headlights During the Day Safer?
Car and other motor vehicles that have headlights on during daytime hours are more visible and safer overall. Depending on the type of vehicle you have, you may have daytime running lights (DRLs) to increase visibility on the road. DRLs are low-wattage headlights that automatically turn on whenever you start the ignition. Although visibility is typically clear during daytime hours, vehicles with DRLs are easier to see than vehicles without them. These lights also let other motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and others recognize that a vehicle is approaching.
In some countries, DRLs are required standard equipment on all motor vehicles manufactured. Canada required that vehicles manufactured after 1989 have running lights, and the European Union put DRLs into law for cars and small vans made after February 2011. In the United States, DRLs are permitted but not required. Most new cars driven in the U.S. do have DRLs.
Studies have found that DRLs help reduce daytime multiple-vehicle crashes, especially head-on collisions. Many studies have found a reduction in crashes of approximately 5 to 10% with the use of DRLs.
One of most recent large-scale studies was a 2008 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study that found that DRLs had no statistically significant effects on the types of motor vehicle accidents studied, except for 5.7% reduction for crashes involving small trucks and vans.
Daytime headlight use is critical during adverse weather conditions, such as rain, snow, sleet, fog, or when you cannot see more than 500 feet ahead of you. If you see a “daylight headlight section” sign on the road, turn on your lights.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) recommends the use of daytime headlights when:
- Adverse weather conditions make it hard to see
- On rural roads
- On narrow two-lane highways
- The sun is about to rise or set
- Road signs indicate a daytime headlight zone
Additional Steps to Improve Visibility During Daytime Hours
In addition to using headlights during the day, taking the following steps will improve your visibility.
- Inspect signal lamps. Make sure your turn-signal and stop lamps are not cracked and the bulbs are working properly.
- Clean interior glass. Remove any film buildup from the interior, which can reduce your vision and cause the sun to reflect more.
- Replace worn out wiper blades. Windshield wiper blades need to be changed every season. Over time, the rubber blade gets brittle and won’t work well, preventing you from having much-needed visibility during heavy rain and snow.
- Fill windshield washer fluid. Make it a habit of topping off your windshield washer fluid so you know that you will have enough whenever you need to clean the windshield.
- Clean rearview and side mirrors. Keep your side and rearview mirrors clean so you can see into them better and be able to change lanes and make turns with confidence. Make sure your mirrors are adjusted in a position best suited for your height.
Contact a Virginia Car Accident Attorney Today
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident in Virginia caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. The Virginia car accident attorney at Kendall Law Firm can provide a straightforward assessment of your car accident case and what types of compensation you may be able to recover.
When you seek the assistance of a personal injury lawyer at Kendall Law Firm, you can count on us to investigate the accident thoroughly as we compile evidence to support your claim. Allow our lawyer to access the full extent of your injuries and pursue the maximum compensation you are entitled to by law. You can rest assured that your car accident case is in good hands with our highly skilled and compassionate attorney. Call (866) 574-2704 or contact us online today to schedule a free initial consultation.