A friendly reminder!
Not everyone may be aware, especially our friends visiting from out of state, but in 2015 Massachusetts law changed to make headlight usage mandatory during periods of inclement weather. The general rule is that if your windshield wipers are on, your headlights should be as well. The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles site specifies that both front and rear motor vehicle lights need to be activated in all of the following conditions:
- When windshield wipers are on
- When low light or weather conditions prevent other vehicles or persons from being seen at 500 feet
- From 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise.
The RMV also notes that, "Relying on daytime running lights for these conditions is not sufficient under the law. A violation of this law is considered a surchargeable minor motor vehicle traffic law violation for insurance purposes." In other words, the violation itself might only charge a minimal fine, but the impact to your driving record and your insurance may cost you more.
According to the AAA Digest of Motor Laws, eighteen other states in addition to Massachusetts require headlight usage specifically when windshield wipers are in operation, including our neighbors in Maine, Rhode Island and New York. Many other states, including Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont, require headlights during "adverse or inclement weather." Many cars these days have automatic lights, which makes compliance with these laws easier. For those who don't have automatic lights, please remember that using your lights in bad weather can save lives (in addition to saving you a traffic citation or insurance increase).
Stay safe, friends!
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