|Written by Trooper Christopher Beaverson|
Headlight laws explained
Headlights are common to all vehicles on the roadway. What I have noticed is not so common—the proper use of those headlights. There seems to be confusion on when headlights should be used.
The easy answer is to use them any time you start your vehicle, day or night. However, if you do not wish to use them all the time, there are specific times outlined in Colorado’s Traffic Code for headlight use.
Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-204 sets the guidelines for headlight use by stating, “Every vehicle upon a highway within this state between sunset and sunrise and at any other time when, due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of 1,000 feet ahead, shall display lighted lamps and illuminating devices as required by this article for different classes of vehicles, subject to exceptions with respect to parked vehicles.”
This statute can be broken down into two sections.
First, we will address “between sunset and sunrise.” These times are not matters of opinion for when you think it is sunset or sunrise. The official sunset and sunrise times are determined when the upper edge of the sun is on the horizon. This official time can be found by conducting a simple Internet search.
For example, by searching “Sunset Fort Morgan, Colorado,” I find that the official sunset time for July 01, 2014, is 8:29 p.m. in Fort Morgan, Colo. This means that if you are not using your headlights after 8:29 p.m., by law you could be stopped and given a citation.
Although headlights are not required before the official sunset time or after the official sunrise, a good recommendation is to use them for at least half an hour before sunset and half an hour after sunrise. Using your headlights in this manner can help other motorists see your vehicle when there may be glare from the sun rising or setting.
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