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    at what speeds is it recommended to safely and legally use your high beam headlights?

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    When Should High Beam Headlights ("High Beams") Be Used?

    High beam headlights ("high beams") should be used at night, whenever you're unable to see enough of the road ahead to drive safely. Click here to learn more about when you should use them.

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    Beginner Driver's Guide

    When Should High Beam Headlights Be Used?

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    Contents

    Low visibility in urban areas

    Interstate highways

    Rural areas and country roads with few streetlights

    When not to use your high-beam headlights

    High beam headlights should be used at night, whenever you’re unable to see enough of the road ahead to drive safely.

    Low visibility at night can be scary for even the most experienced drivers. Why is driving after dark more dangerous? 90 percent of a driver’s reactions depend on acute vision, including depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision, all of which become severely limited at night. High-beam headlights shine at an angle to illuminate the road 350 to 400 feet ahead or about twice as far as low beams. (Remember that 68 mph equals about 100 feet per second. When you travel at highway speeds at night, low beams may give you only a second or two to react to a hazard.)

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    While high beams help keep you safe, they can also endanger other drivers if you use them incorrectly. All states have laws requiring you to dim your high-beam headlights whenever there is a risk of blinding other drivers. The exact distance varies from state to state, but typically, high beam headlights must not be used within 500 feet of an approaching vehicle or within 200 or 300 feet of another vehicle you’re following.

    When to Use High-Beam Headlights to Stay Safe

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    State laws typically require you to dim high beams within 300 to 1000 feet of approaching vehicles

    1

    Low visibility in urban areas

    You may find yourself driving on a dark city street, on an unfamiliar road, or in a construction zone. It’s unnerving to realize that you’re unable to see the road ahead. When your vision is impaired, slow down. If there are no other vehicles nearby, turn on your high beams. Your high beams will also protect pedestrians and bicyclists who may be on the side of the road or crossing in front of you. In urban areas, state law typically requires you to dim high beams within 300 to 1000 feet of approaching vehicles. You must also dim them within 200 to 300 feet of vehicles you’re following, especially at stop signs and traffic lights.

    2

    Interstate highways

    Visibility on some interstate highways or their on- and off-ramps may be poor. There may be long stretches of road that are only illuminated by your headlights. In those low-visibility conditions, use your high-beam headlights to increase your viewing range. However, dim your high beams when you’re near other vehicles, even on divided highways. Check with your local DMV for the exact distance your state requires. When you’re approaching another vehicle from behind on an interstate highway or at a toll plaza or rest area, always dim your high beams to avoid blinding the driver.

    3

    Rural areas and country roads with few streetlights

    On rural roads and open highways, street lighting may be sparse, which can make driving more treacherous after dark. Your high-beam headlights will let you see farther down the road. In rural areas, high beams also help you avoid hitting animals, bicyclists, or pedestrians taking a late-evening stroll. While country roads may appear deserted, be prepared to quickly dim your high beams for approaching traffic or when you approach another vehicle from behind. By dimming your high beams, you’ll be protecting other drivers.

    When not to use your high-beam headlights

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    Don't use your high beams when driving in fog, rain, or snow

    Never use your high-beam headlights while you are driving in fog, rain, or snow. In such conditions, they can make your vision even worse. High beams will shine directly into the fog or precipitation, which will reflect the bright light back to you. During snowstorms, snowflakes and ice crystals will reflect even more light back to you. The dangerous result is a wall of glare, which will make it even more difficult for you to see the road.

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    When to Use High

    Here's how to make them work for you the way they were designed to.

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    When to Use Your Car's High-Beams

    Here's how to make them work for you the way they were designed to.

    BY JACK KEEBLER APR 12, 2019

    GETTY IMAGES

    We're here to, ahem, shed some light on when to use high-beams. Of course, they're great for when you want to see more of the road ahead at night. But when to use high-beams involves more than that: There are several useful, time-tested rules for better use of your vehicle's lighting system. Follow them and you'll be a safer driver, possibly sidestep the ire of other road users—and maybe even avoid a moving violation for temporarily blinding the drivers of oncoming cars.

    The headlights in your vehicle have two modes: low-beam and high-beam. The low-beam mode produces a less intense light that provides a nighttime down-the-road view of about 200 to 300 feet, or the approximate length of a football field. It may seem like a lot, but if you're traveling at 60 mph, it takes just 3.4 seconds to cover that distance. Your high-beams, which are typically activated either by pushing or pulling the turn-signal stalk, are more powerful: They project light about 350 to 500 feet, depending on your lighting system's specifications.

    GETTY IMAGES

    What High-Beams Can and Can't Do

    Isn't more light always better for nighttime safety? Why not simply leave your high-beams on and enjoy the brightest, longest-range view? First, high-beams are actually less effective in certain weather conditions. And second, it's not safe, because we share the roadway with other drivers.

    While you see more and farther under most conditions in high-beam mode, your powerful blast of light actually reduces the visibility of oncoming traffic (sometimes for a significant interval of time). This situation is like staring into a flashlight in a dark room. You can see the blazing light but little to nothing else around it. Imagine traveling on a dark two-lane road at 50 mph with oncoming traffic. The closing speed between the vehicles is approximately 100 mph. And the closer the vehicles get to each other, the less the surrounding area and other traffic are visible.

    Has this ever happened to you? If so, you know how important it is to know when to use your high-beams. The intense oncoming light is painful to eyes and mentally discomforting; you simply can't see much for a couple of precious moments. And second, motor-vehicle laws in most states require you to switch off your high-beams and refrain from flashing your high-beams within 500 feet of other traffic.

    Should You Flash Your Lights?

    But what if another driver fails to dim their brights? Most driving manuals recommend focusing your eyes on the right shoulder and its white line as you pass. Why not vigorously flash your high-beams at them? Flashing, unfortunately, is an ambiguous form of communication. Are you angry, being rude, or warning others about a speed trap, a deer crossing the road, or an accident behind you? Flashes are easily misinterpreted by other motorists—and police. Although Florida has ruled that flashing your lights is a form of free speech—Michigan ruled it's also legal to flip off an officer—law-enforcement in other states may consider flashing your lights a reason to pull you over.

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    When to Use High-Beams and When Not to

    If, however, you're on the highway or a lonely rural road with no traffic within 500 feet, go ahead and blast the high-beams for better visibility. Their extra range makes higher-speed driving safer, because you can see farther ahead. There's less chance of "overdriving your lights." But also be aware that your brights can reduce the visibility of and annoy drivers in cars you are following, as your brights are reflected off their rearview mirrors and into their eyes. So as you catch up to cars ahead, dim your high-beams as a courtesy.

    As to the effects of weather, keep in mind that in rain, fog, or snow, low-beams often provide better visibility. That's because high-beams are aimed higher, plus their brighter light bounces off the fog, raindrops, or snowflakes suspended in the air as if they were millions of tiny mirrors. The light is reflected into your eyes rather than down the road, reducing your visibility. In the higher-density traffic and lower speeds of urban and suburban streets, the low-beam setting gets the job done and reduces the possibility of making other drivers and police uncomfortable. (Properly designed and aimed fog lamps with even lower cutoffs can theoretically do a better job in fog, snow, or rain than low-beams, but the truth is that most vehicles' fog lamps are designed more for show than effective lighting.)

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    So be smart and considerate. Keep your beam use straight: low for lower speeds, suburban areas, and rain or fog. High for higher speeds and highways, but only when you can maintain at least 500 feet between your vehicle and the rest of us. And thank you for doing so.

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    Source : www.caranddriver.com

    When to Use Your Car’s High

    Learn everything about high beam headlights (high beams), what they are, when to use them, how far they let you see and more with this in-depth guide.

    When to Use Your Car’s High-Beam Headlights: A Complete Guide

    by Zutobi Updated Mar 17, 2022

    In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about high-beam headlights and when to use them.

    If you prefer video, check out this thorough video from our Youtube channel:

    What are High Beam Headlights?

    The strongest headlights in your car are called high beam headlights. The high beam headlights are used at night and in poor lighting conditions to light up as much of the road ahead as possible as you drive. They light up far more of the road compared to normal low-beam “dipped” headlights.

    Tip: You must be able to stop within the distance of your lights, or it will be too late to stop without hitting an object by the time you see it.

    While high beam headlights provide more light than low beams, the light is strong enough to temporarily blind other drivers and pedestrians if used incorrectly. To prevent blinding other drivers, all states have specific requirements that regulate when you may use high beams and when to dip or switch them off (i.e. turn to low beams).

    When to Use High Beam Headlights

    High beams light up far more of the road than low beams and enable you to see much farther ahead when dark. They drastically increase the chance of you seeing an object or hazard on or near the road.

    We’ll go through when you may legally use high beams below.

    1 – In urban areas with low visibility

    Even within urban areas, the roads can be dark with low visibility. You can use high beams to see further ahead if you are driving in an urban area without street lighting. Using high beams in those situations will make the roads safer for pedestrians and bicyclists on or near the road.

    Be prepared to dip your headlights to avoid blinding other drivers.

    2 – On interstate highways, country roads, and rural areas

    Use high beams on roads like these

    On any country roads or rural areas with sparse street lighting, you should use high beams as often as you can. They will allow you to drive much safer and with more confidence. The additional light will allow you to see animals on or close to the road and, more importantly, pedestrians and bicyclists walking on the edge of the road.

    3 – On interstate highways

    Use high beams when suitable on interstate highways but be prepared to dim when necessary to avoid blinding other drivers.

    How Do You Activate Your High Beams?

    To activate your high beams, first locate your blinker lever. Then push it away from you until you feel it click into place. If you’ve done it correctly, the high beam dashboard light should be visible on your car’s dashboard.To turn off your high beams, pull the lever towards you.

    When Should You Dip Your High Beams?

    As high-beam headlights can also blind other drivers, you need to dip your them before you risk blinding other drivers. The exact distance to other vehicles will vary from state to state.

    In general, high beam headlights must not be used within:

    300 feet or less when driving behind another vehicle

    500 feet of an oncoming vehicle

    You must dip your headlights to low beam when driving 300 feet or less behind another vehicle

    You must dip your headlights to low beam when an oncoming vehicle is within 500 feet

    What Should You Do If You Get Blinded by Another Driver?

    Oncoming drivers sometimes forget to dip their high-beam headlights when passing. To avoid being blinded, you can look toward the right edge of your lane and watch the position of the oncoming vehicle out of the corner of the eye.

    How Far Will High Beams and Low Beams Let You See?

    Low-beam headlights let you see up to about 200 feet and are suitable for speeds up to 25 mph.High-beam headlights let you see up to about 350 feet and are suitable for speeds faster than 25 mph.

    Don’t Overdrive Your Headlights

    As you must be able to stop within the distance of your lights, high beams are often used when driving faster than 25 mph in low-visibility conditions. If driving faster than 25 mph with low-beam headlights, it may be too late to stop without hitting an object by the time you see it.

    Source : zutobi.com

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