Can you be fined for having dipped headlights during the day?

Your car’s lights (front and rear) play a fundamental role in your active safety: thanks to them we see, but we also make ourselves (more) visible to other vehicles on the road. Which is why daytime running lights have been mandatory for over a decade, but what about the crossovers? Can they fine you for not wearing them during the day? The DGT settles the debate.

Every day we come across vehicles carrying the daytime running lights activated: they turn on automatically when we start the car and since February 2011, in Europe, all new models must be equipped with them as standard. The objective, as we mentioned before, is to see and, at the same time, to be seen by others.

Cars without daytime running lights

The question is inevitable: what happens to all those vehicles that came on the market before 2011 and, therefore, do not have daytime running lights? Y The answer is simple: nothing. The General Directorate of Traffic recommends using the crossing ones, but it cannot fine us if, during the day, we do not wear them. This is the situation that most of the cars that circulate on our streets and highways experience on a daily basis: the regulation came into force eleven years ago and the average age of the Spanish car fleet is 13.49 years.

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three cases

Nevertheless, There are three scenarios in which we are obliged to put on the dipped headlights, even if it is during the day. They are included in the Traffic and Road Safety Law and are the following:

  • In tunnels and other sections of track affected by the tunnel signal, at any time of the day.
  • In reversible lanes and others enabled to circulate in the opposite direction, also at any time of the day.
  • When weather or environmental conditions (rain, fog, snow, dust, smoke…) Visibility is significantly reduced.

Failure to comply with this premise can translate into a fine of 200 euros. The same penalty will be received by drivers who drive without lights in low light conditions and those who use fog lights without weather conditions forcing it to do so because, in this case, it causes dazzle to other users.

It should be remembered, on the other hand, that, although it is no longer mandatory to carry spare lights, circular with one of them melted involves a penalty of 200 euros. And continuous bursts are considered a minor infraction, punishable by a fine of 80 euros.

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The council of the DGT

The DGT, we explained before, recommends using low beam (or daytime) lights on all our journeys. A piece of advice based on the study that the IDIADA Passive Safety Department carried out a few years ago for Traffic. It showed that, even in the scenario with the best visibility (at noon, on a mixed road, surrounded by vegetation and sky in equal parts), a car with its lights on is detected a hundred meters earlier than a black one and without them.

The same thing happens when conditions are worse: a vehicle with its lights on can be seen at 240 meters, while a gray one without them can be seen at a hundred meters, a white one at ninety and a black one at thirty. Despite this, the data from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism is surprising: in 2020, more than 3.7 million vehicles that did not pass the ITV the first time and the most frequent serious defect (26% of the total) was related to lighting and signage.

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