Is it illegal to drive with a headlight out? [Expert Answer]

Have you ever wondered is it illegal to drive with a headlight out?

The answer is ”Yes”, it is necessary by legislation in most states to have two functional headlights. Headlights improve safety and lessen the likelihood of an accident by making your vehicle visible to other drivers at night and during periods of the day when visibility is limited.

Can driving with only one headlight result in a traffic stop?

When it comes to driving, it really doesn’t matter how good you are in navigating or negotiating obstacles while lacking a few parts in your automobile; the state sets laws and standards to assure safety since it’s their job to do so because it’s unsafe to drive with hazy headlights.

Can driving with only one headlight result in a traffic stop?
Can driving with only one headlight result in a traffic stop?

So, can driving with only one headlight result in a traffic stop? Without a doubt! Why? How are you going to prevent it? How do you replace the headlights? And what can you do if you’re pulled over? Continue reading as we go further into the issue to find answers to your queries. But, before we go any further, it’s important to remember that a competent driver is one who drives for the benefit of others on the road, not one who is secure in his own skills.

In this sense, having only one headlight may mislead other incoming vehicles, and while you may be confident in yourself, it is also highly distracting to you as the driver. Driving with only one headlight is not only dangerous but it is also prohibited in most places across the United States.

Similarly, each state has its own set of road safety rules. Some states, for example, mandate that automobile headlights be turned on at all times of the day and night, but others require that headlights be turned on just at night or during extreme weather conditions such as snow or rain.

Headlight laws vary per state.

As previously stated, several states mandate that headlights be switched on whether driving in the morning or at night. Other states, on the other hand, have more severe and precise laws, such as mandating headlights to be switched on 30 minutes after nightfall and 30 minutes before sunrise. What is more essential than all of these rules is that every vehicle, excluding motorcycles, must have two headlights. If you break this regulation, you will very certainly be pulled over.

What should you do if you get pulled over for having only one headlight?

If you are pulled over by a police officer, the best thing you can do is be truthful. When you are honest, courteous, and nice, the officer may be more forgiving with you. The officer may end up reciprocating, and things will go more easily for you.

You, as the driver, maybe ignorant that you have a burnt-out headlight, but when you are ultimately pulled over, the law enforcement agent or police officer may issue you a warning (if it is your first time) or a notice to rectify. If you repair it quickly, there should be no problem, but you may be required to provide proof of rectification and pay a $10 fee to the court. However, if there is an oxidation issue, you should consider restoring your headlights before your next trip.

However, if you have been driving with one headlight for a long time and have received many warnings from police, you may not be able to get off the hook so simply. You may be served with a summons to both remedies it and appear in court. This means that you will not only have to repair it, but you will also have to appear in court and pay a fine that is more than what you would have paid if you had rectified it earlier, and, worst of all, you may have tainted your record with a new offense.

How to Avoid Being Stopped when driving

How to Avoid Being Stopped
How to Avoid Being Stopped

There are no shortcuts here; if you want to avoid being pulled over because of your headlights, the solution is simple: don’t drive with one headlight until you’ve fixed it and restored it using a suggested headlight restoration kit that lasts longer.

It may appear to be quite rational and clear, but many individuals defy the odds and continue to drive. Also, there may be times when you are inclined to do so, such as in an emergency or when you are not traveling far. In any case, you risk being hauled over. So, it’s preferable not to use that car at all.

Furthermore, to avoid being caught off guard, before you get in your car, ensure the headlights are both functional and in great condition. Although flashing your headlights may be more dangerous than you realize, it is best to be cautious than sorry. If you discover a blown bulb, it is quite simple to repair and you may do it yourself.

You may buy a new bulb and replace it yourself for $15. However, it is preferable to replace both bulbs. When one headlight bulb fails, the other will shortly follow, so avoid this by replacing both headlight bulbs.

***Refer to more: Do led headlights need a ballast? [Expert Answer]

Most importantly, it is in your best advantage to be aware of all state rules, standards, and regulations, as well as safety legislation and other laws that may apply to you as a driver in that state.

When it comes to your automobile, it is better to be proactive in order to avoid getting in trouble with the police. Checking to verify if your headlights are operating correctly before leaving the house and getting your car on the road, for example, as well as performing other things to maintain and keep your automobile in good shape.

Remember that a good driver is one who takes other drivers and motorists into account. So, it doesn’t matter how adept you are at navigating your way with a broken headlight, or if your eyesight is excellent and you can see perfectly despite just having one light. It doesn’t matter if you can avoid all of the cops on the road and avoid being pulled over; the issue is that you are endangering other drivers, and that, regardless of your abilities and competence, qualifies you as a terrible driver.

Finally, keep in mind that these laws, rules, and regulations are in existence for your benefit as well. Therefore, the rules aren’t overly severe, the officer isn’t the adversary or being cruel, and the state’s laws are intended to protect you, so there’s no reason to oppose it. The importance of following the laws and regulations cannot be overstated. You will be a law-abiding person who does not endanger other drivers. That’s a great driver!


We hope this post has provided you with valuable and fascinating information on traffic safety laws when driving a car with a headlight out. From there, you can answer the question posed in the headline, “Is it illegal to drive with a headlight out?” If you have any further questions, please don’t forget to share and comment below so that we can reply as fast and correctly as possible. Thank you for taking the time to read!