VERIFY: Is it The Law To Turn On Your Headlights When Wipers Are In Use?

Is it the law in Virginia and North Carolina to turn on your headlights when wipers are in use?

If your windshield wipers are on, do you have to use your headlights?

A WVEC viewer asked us to verify whether this is a suggestion or requirement while driving, and we went digging for answers. Our Verify sources are AAA Digest of Motor Laws, Virginia's Legislative Information System, and the North Carolina General Assembly's website.

AAA lists the law in every state when it comes to headlight use. And although they all vary to a degree, the requirement is almost always the same; headlights must be used:

  • When wipers are in use
  • From sunset to sunrise
  • When visibility is low

According to Virginia's Legislative Information System, the law goes into effect for visibility when it's less than 500 feet.

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North Carolina's law is only slightly different. Its General Assembly's website says you must use your headlights when visibility is less than 400 feet. The difference, however, is minimal.

So, we can verify that in Virginia and in North Carolina, it is the law to not only use your headlights at night, but also when your windshield wipers are on and in limited visibility conditions. 

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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