Headlight Laws

Automobiles have seen great technological advancements throughout the years, from seat belts to lane departure alerts and even self-driving capabilities. One less obvious, but just as important, advancement is that of car’s headlights. Unlike a few years ago, many vehicles now feature automatic headlights and taillights built into their systems, so drivers don’t have to remember to turn them on at night or during inclement weather. Some vehicles on Georgia roadways still lack this advanced feature, though, so it’s important to understand the headlight laws in Georgia so that you’re able to abide by them.

In the state of Georgia, the law requires that headlights must be turned on thirty-minutes before sunrise, thirty-minutes after sunset, when driving in hazardous weather conditions that causes limited visibility on the roads, and when it is difficult to see obvious vehicles ahead from a distance of five-hundred feet. Visibility can be reduced as a result of many different factors – including but not limited to things like rain, fog, snow and smoke. Essentially, if you are within five-hundred feet of a vehicle and cannot properly see them, your headlights must be turned on. Not following proper traffic laws can lead to citations, losing your license, or causing an accident. Here’s a breakdown of the Georgia Point System regarding headlight offenses:

  • Possible fine and/or 3 point hit on your driver’s license
  • System range: 2 – 6 points
  • 15 points within 24 months: suspended license
  • Under 18 years old & 4 points within 12 months: suspended license

It can be easy to overlook laws regarding headlights, but they can be a major safety issue and have been reported to cause automobile accidents. In fact, improper headlight usage is a frequent cause of being pulled over in Georgia. Many DUI arrests can be attributed to improper headlight procedures when operating a vehicle, leading to officers interacting with intoxicated drivers when they otherwise might not have. An automobile’s headlights can be the different in saving a life on the roadway, so it’s important to know when to utilize the lights and how they can affect drivers.

Common misconceptions regarding headlight usage often occurs in downtown or heavily populated areas – that headlights are not as necessary due to seemingly sufficient lighting from surroundings. What may seem like proper lighting to yourself is not always the same for other vehicles and drivers, as lighting can be much different when on the roadways. In such instances, drivers often assume their automatic lights will turn on, but that is not always the case. This leads to many traffic violations as well.

Anyone who has received a traffic citation in Georgia understands that the points can quickly add up. Understand when it is necessary to utilize headlights, and that even if you operate a vehicle with automatic lights, be aware that they do not always turn on in the front or back. Be cautious, alert and responsible when utilizing a vehicle’s headlights – both for your safety and the safety of others on busy Georgia roadways.