You need to be able to see at night and have other vehicles see you as well. Spend a few minutes to check and make sure all your vehicle’s outside lights are working. It might help to have a friend assist you since there are a few bulbs to check that are much easier to do with two people.
Every state has different rules and regulations on headlight use so it’s good to familiarize yourself if you’ll be leaving our beautiful Colorado. You can read more about this on this helpful website that has the lowdown on all 50 states. For Colorado, here are the highlights from our friends at YourMechanic.com:
- Headlights must be turned on from sunset to sunrise or when you cannot see at least 1000 feet in front of you.
- Parking lights must be illuminated on any vehicle parked alongside the roadway, whether attended or not, from sunset to sunrise or whenever you cannot see at least 1000 feet in front of you.
- High beams or fog lights must be dimmed when approaching traffic within 500 feet.
- High beams or fog lights must also be dimmed when following within 200 feet of another vehicle.
- High beams should not be used in fog; low beams or fog lights are appropriate.
- No restrictions
With the vehicle running (and the parking brake applied), walk around to make sure no bulbs are burned out. That means headlights (both high- and low-beams), side lights, fog lights, taillights, and brake lights. Also, test each turn signal and make sure they are blinking properly, both front and rear. Try the emergency flashers, too.
Don’t forget about the backup lights. Have your friend put the vehicle in reverse and see if they are working and clean (don’t stand directly behind the vehicle, just in case). You don’t want to be blind when you’re backing up at night, so all backup lamps should be lit. With rear-view cameras now very common, backup lights provide an extra measure of light so that you can avoid obstacles, animals, kids, etc.
Check the inside lights, too. The instrument panel lights should be working so you can see important things like your speed, fuel level, engine temperature, etc. The dome lights should come on when the doors open and when the switch is activated.
If you have any bulbs out, you can head over to your NAPA AutoCare Center where they can replace the lamps. Some are tricky to get at, plus the pros will know exactly the right replacement bulb to install. This is also a good opportunity to make sure your headlights are aimed correctly. You don’t want to blind oncoming drivers. And you want to be able to see as far as your vehicle is designed to see.
One driving tip when it comes to headlights: Make sure you have enough stopping distance to be able to come to a complete stop within the area your headlights can light up. Precipitation, fog, and dust can all reduce night visibility, and you want to reduce your speed to be able to stop in time.