Although being able to drive a car requires you to take driver’s education courses and pass a driving test to get your license, drivers know that there are many rules and regulations when it comes to driving and not all of them are covered in driver’s ed. As such, not all drivers know when using high beams or brights is appropriate. High beams can help you see on particularly dark, deserted roads, but it is illegal to drive with them when you’re around other cars because they blind other drivers.
What You Should Know About Your High Beams
High beams illuminate the entire area in front of you when you’re driving in the dark so you can see road curves up ahead, street signs, and even animals that may run into the road. The increased visibility they offer leads some people to believe that it’s helpful to drive with high beams at night, but this is not always the case. Actually, there are very limited situations in which high beams should be used, and they should never be used when you’re around other cars.
Is It Illegal To Drive With Your Brights On?
Florida Statute 316.328 covers the rules of high beam use.
Under this statute, it is illegal to drive with your high beams on:
- When approaching within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle
- When approaching within 300 feet of another vehicle from the rear
Driving with your brights on in these situations is considered a moving infraction and carries a large fine. Points may also be added to your driving record.
In Florida, it is also illegal to drive with your high beams on in foggy or rainy weather. When weather causes low visibility, use low beams and slow down. High beams should only be used on rural, unlit roads where there are hardly any other vehicles.
High Beams Safety Concerns
When driving at night, there are safety precautions you can take to minimize the risk of a crash involving high beams:
- If a vehicle with high beams approaches, do not look directly at the lights. Instead, shift your gaze to the right side of the road and keep your eyes on the white line
- Adjust your rearview mirror to the night setting to dim the lights of vehicles behind you
- Avoid using lights inside your vehicle, which can impair your ability to see at night
- Make sure your windshield is free from cracks, chips, streaks, or smudges
- Keep your windshield and headlights clean to reduce glare and increase visibility on the road
How to Properly Use High Beams
According to Florida law, you must turn off high beams and return to standard headlights whenever you are approaching another vehicle or if there are foggy or rainy weather conditions. This is because high beams can blind other drivers and make it more difficult for you to see what is directly in front of you.
Having high beams on in stormy, wintery, or foggy weather can make driving more dangerous. Low beams, also known as fog lights, are better suited for these conditions. Low beams shine downward and help you see the lines on the road and objects that are directly in front of you, rather than those off in the distance.
Using high beams in poor weather can actually make it harder for you to see than if you didn’t have any lights on at all. The intense light from high beams reflects off of fog, snowflakes, and raindrops and is directed back toward you. This reduces visibility, increasing the risk of accidents and driving off the road.
High beams are intended to be used at night on roads where there are no cars in front of you or coming your way. These roads include interstate highways and country roads where there is little to no traffic.
When used under the wrong circumstances, high beams can make driving more dangerous. However, when used properly, high beams make high-speed driving safer.
The Importance of Safe and Legal High Beam Usage
When driving, following your state’s traffic laws is non-negotiable. This is why it’s so important to know when to use high beams and when to avoid using high beams. In Florida, you cannot use high beams when you’re approaching other cars or during poor weather.
If you fail to follow high beam laws and cause a car accident, you can be held responsible for any injuries and damage that you cause. On the other hand, if you were the victim of a car accident involving the use of high beams, you may be entitled to compensation. The at-fault driver may be negligent by using high beams near other cars, and an experienced car accident lawyer can help you recover the compensation you deserve for any damages that you have suffered.
At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, our attorneys are experts in Florida traffic laws, including those governing the use of high beams. If you need help after a car accident, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.