Headlights & Windshield Wipers – Know the Law!

31st Oct 2014

It is no fun to receive a traffic ticket, no matter the cause, but if you get stuck with fines for a violation you didn't even know existed, it’s a real slap in the face. Arguably, there are tons of laws and traffic rules that the average person is not familiar with. But if you follow best practices for safe driving and are conscientious, most violations are naturally avoidable.

For example, the average driver automatically flips on both the headlights and windshield wipers when it is rainy, foggy or snowing. But did you know that many states have a law requiring drivers to have headlights on if the windshield wipers are in use? Have you ever realized that this tiny little action could be the difference between a safe arrival and a deadly accident?

States With Windshield Wiper/Headlight Laws

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Missouri
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia

So if you are driving through Maine or Ohio, for example, when weather conditions have you reaching for the windshield wiper controls, don’t forget to flip on those lights at the same time. Although most states don’t use this driving violation as a reason to pull you over, you could still face a traffic ticket and fines around $100.

State laws regarding head light use can be rather confusing and cover a vast range of requirements. Some states require lights with visibility ranging from 500 to 1000 feet, some just when it’s dark (we know, kind of an obvious one), or in times of insufficient light or adverse weather conditions. In fact, some areas of Canada require drivers to use headlights at ALL times. Because something like “insufficient light” could be open to interpretation, adding a clause about the windshield wipers gives drivers clearer direction and make obeying the law easier.

Drive Safer with Headlights & Windshield Wipers

The fact is, whether this is a law in your state or not, turning on your headlights when you turn on the windshield wiper increases your safety on the road and that of all drivers. It can be difficult to see an oncoming car when drizzling rain is impairing your line of sight (especially if the driver is operating low quality windshield wipers!) and flipping on those lights let everyone know you are there.

And visibility is everything when you are on the road. Defensive driving is necessary at all times, and especially in bad weather but you can’t drive defensively if you can’t see what is in front of you! Even a moment of a misted windshield or a couple hundred feet less of visibility can lead to a dangerous, life threatening accident.

Although many disagree with the windshield wiper law, it can make a difference. A 2011 study by the Transportation Lighting Alliance shows a direct reduction in fatal traffic accidents after a state had added the windshield wiper headlight regulation. In fact, the “Daytime Use of Automotive Headlamps During Inclement Weather: Safety and Conspicuity” study determined that the law may have reduced dawn/dusk fatal crashes by 30% and daytime accidents by 7%. Although these findings are undoubtedly affected by other factors, they are consistent and not evident in states where drivers are NOT required to turn on headlights when windshield wipers are operating.

Whether you agree or disagree with this law, with so many road conditions that you can’t control, why not do what you can to increase your safety?

Everblades Heated Windshield Wipers Increase Safety

One of the reasons that we are so proud of our heated windshield wipers is the safer driving conditions they create. Any old windshield wiper can swipe off rain and snow from your windshield, but if streaks are left, the wipers fail in bad weather conditions, or built up ice prevents a clear view, the driver is at risk. With Everblades, you get great wiping performance no matter the conditions and the heated elements prevent snow and ice buildup that could interfere with your line of sight. Seeing clearly means safer driving – and Everblades cares!

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