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Can You Drive During the Day with a Broken Headlight?

Can You Drive During the Day with a Broken Headlight?

Given that laws can be very confusing on what’s legal and what’s not, drivers often find themselves in a tough spot.

One such ambiguous area is driving with a broken headlight during the day. 

Some may assume that driving with a broken headlight is legal since it’s not required during the daytime. 

Driving with a broken headlight during the day is legal. However, you might get pulled over if the road conditions require turning on your headlights and yours does not work.

Whether it’s foggy, rainy, or snowing, you need to ensure that all your headlights are working. Failure to do so endangers your life and those of other road users. 

You might also need to fix it to prevent further damage to the headlight and bulbs before repairs get too costly.

Is It Legal to Drive With a Broken Headlight?

While laws may vary depending on your state, having a broken headlight is an equipment violation. 

For example, Georgia law mandates that headlights must be on 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.

Additionally, they should be on when it’s raining or when the visibility is less than 500 feet. 

The weather conditions that may lower your visibility include fog, smoke, sleet, and snow.

Headlights should be on when it’s raining, even if you can see what’s ahead and behind you, as it’s more of a cautionary approach so that other drivers can see where you are. 

Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, and Delaware are some states whose law requires that headlights must be on when you can’t see 1,000 feet ahead of you.

Furthermore, the law requires that every motor vehicle have a minimum of two and a maximum of four headlights.

Motorcycles must have at least one light and a maximum of two headlights. 

Failing to adhere to the state regulations on headlights might land you in trouble. And since a broken headlight is not a moving violation, you’ll just receive a defective equipment ticket that doesn’t carry any points instead. 

However, most drivers pulled over for having faulty headlights end up being charged with more.

Therefore, in as much as it isn’t an indication of the state of your vehicle, having multiple broken headlights signifies greater neglect. 

Is It Illegal to Drive With a Broken Headlight Cover During the Day?

No. It’s legal to drive around with a broken headlight cover during the day.

However, you might still get pulled over and ticketed if your broken headlight cover endangers the safety of other road users. 

However, if it rains, your bulb might blow straight away, placing you in a tough position. 

And most laws require vehicles, except for motorcycles, to have working headlights at both sides of the front of the vehicle.

Therefore, consider replacing your broken headlight cover before you drive off. 

If you can’t find a replacement in time, cover the headlights with any transparent material that’s strong enough to withstand wind pressure and weather hazards.

Broken headlight

Is It Safe to Drive With a Broken Headlight?

No. In low visibility conditions, headlights enable you to see what’s ahead while on the road and inform other oncoming drivers of your position in your lane.

Additionally, having both headlights at night is obviously very important important. Headlights are usually on the ends of the front of your vehicle to give you better visibility and show other road users how wide your vehicle is. 

Driving without both sets of headlights deceives other drivers into thinking that your vehicle is stationary. They might even fail to see it in time.

Some might assume that it’s a motorcycle if only one headlight is working, which can be dangerous for both parties. 

Can You Drive With a Broken Headlight if the Light Still Works?

Yes, but you’ll still get pulled over. If a traffic officer notices you have a working headlight but the cover is broken, he’s at liberty to pull you over and inform you of the damage. 

Also, he may ask you a few questions regarding your broken headlight such that he’s aware of the situation.

The officer may then advise you of how to fix it. You’re most likely to go free if you promise to repair it within 48 hours. 

What to Do if You Get an Equipment Violations Ticket

If you intentionally drive a vehicle with a faulty light, or if it’s dim or malfunctioning due to weather exposure, you’ll receive an inexpensive “fix-it” ticket. 

A malfunctioning headlight reduces your visibility and depth perception, leading to erratic driving and difficulty identifying road obstructions. 

Upon receiving a “fix-it” ticket, ensure to repair the broken headlight before the said deadline, otherwise you’ll be levied with more consequences.

Afterwards, get an authorized person such as a police officer, the department of motor vehicles (DMV) or a court clerk to sign and ascertain that you’ve fixed it. 

You’ll then take your proof of correction to court, pay the dismissal fee, and wait for your verdict. Ensure to do as instructed before the deadline day.

Final Remarks on If You Can Drive During the Day With a Faulty Headlight

Headlights are a very important part of our vehicles, and we must aspire to keep them in good working condition both both our safety and the safety of others on the road.

Since headlight laws vary from state to state, I’d recommend consulting your local traffic authority or department of motor vehicles on what is legal within your state. 

There are rules on the type of lights you can install in your headlight and the color the headlight covers need to be.

Therefore, we don’t have a one-rule-for-all kind of legislation that covers the use of headlights in all states. 

Finally, repair or replace your broken headlight within the shortest time possible if they are damaged.

You’ll improve your own driving experience and that of other motorists.

Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!