Ask a Trooper: Headlights should be on when visibility is reducedSend your question E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your question to Duluth News Tribune, Attn: Ask the State Trooper, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802. You may remain anonymous if you choose.
Q: Could you remind drivers that Minnesota has a law that requires vehicle headlights to be used during certain conditions and what those conditions are?
A: I would be happy to. Minnesota requires our vehicle headlights to be on from sunset to sunrise. Headlights also are required to be on any time it is raining, snowing, sleeting, hailing or any time visibility is impaired by weather, smoke, fog or other conditions. Headlights also are required to be on if there is not sufficient light to clearly see people or vehicles at least 500 feet ahead. Receiving a citation for not using your headlights when required is a moving violation that will show (upon conviction) on a Minnesota driving record and usually includes a monetary fine that most would prefer to spend elsewhere, especially during the holiday season.
Studies have shown that by simply turning on our headlights, we can reduce our chances of being involved in a crash. In Minnesota, more motor vehicle crashes are caused by inattentive or distracted drivers than by any other single factor. Turning on our vehicle headlights sometimes can mean the
difference between being noticed or being hit!
A good rule of thumb in Minnesota: If your windshield wipers are on, or
visibility is reduced, your headlights should be on as well.
Sgt. Mark Baker is a member of the Minnesota State Patrol.