Tricounty News

What's the law on headlights?

Minnesota State Patrol

Dear Trooper Kathy: I Got a question. What are the STATE LAWS regarding use of headlights? SO how can these cars that are newer than my car go down the road without having any headlights on? I thought that was an automatic when you start the engine? Is there any penalty/fine for this happening? With the crappy weather we have had this December, it makes me angry when there are stupid people just disregarding the safety meant for all of us.


Thanks for your comments.

* All vehicles are required to have headlights on during inclement weather, sunset to sunrise, and anytime that visibility is impaired.

* Another misconception from the general public is that all headlights are AUTOMATIC now and are ALWAYS on. Many of the new vehicles have different optional settings and are automatically set according to:

a. Dusk to dawn

b. Cloudy or foggy

c. All the time

d. Parking lights only

Many people DO NOT REALIZE that just because you have "automatic" headlights, that during daylight hours, they MAY NOT be on.

Another problem may occur on some vehicles. This occurs when the automatic headlights go on, the taillights may not be set to on. Make sure you check this out.

Remember, as a defensive driver, it is very important to BE SEEN. The best way for this to happen is to reach down and make sure your headlights are on.

If you have any questions regarding traffic safety and/or traffic laws, please e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Sgt. Pederson will not offer advice on specific situations or real events, which involve law enforcement.