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Ask a Trooper: Vehicles must use headlights, taillights under certain conditions

Q: Does Minnesota have a law requiring headlight use if your windshield wipers are on? How does that relate to automatic daytime running lights, which don't seem to activate taillights or trailer lights.

Q: Does Minnesota have a law requiring headlight use if your windshield wipers are on? How does that relate to automatic daytime running lights, which don’t seem to activate taillights or trailer lights.
A: Minnesota does have a law requiring drivers to have their headlights on, but just because your windshield wipers are being used doesn’t mean you’re required to have your headlights activated. However, chances are the reason you are using your wipers is due to the weather, which according to Minnesota State Statute would require you to have them on. The statute is:
M.S.S. 169.48 Subd.1 Lights to be displayed. (a) Every vehicle upon a highway within this state:
(1) at any time from sunset to sunrise;
(2) at any time when it is raining, snowing, sleeting or hailing;
(3) at any other time when visibility is impaired by weather, smoke, fog or other conditions or there is not sufficient light to render clearly discernible persons and vehicles on the highway at a distance of 500 feet ahead;
shall display lighted headlamps, lighted tail lamps and illuminating devices.
You bring up a good point of thought. A lot of vehicles are equipped with automatic “daytime” lights that are fine on clear and sunny days. But when there is rain, snow, sleet, hail, smoke, fog, etc., the sensor may not activate the lights to the rear. Every driver still is responsible for turning those on. I strongly suggest getting out of the vehicle and walking entirely around it and making sure those are all working.

Sgt. Neil Dickenson is a public information officer with the Minnesota State Patrol. Send your questions to trooper@duluthnews.com .

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