Q: Is It Illegal to Drive with High Beams?

(Last Updated On: October 29, 2014)

Legally in BC, you must dim your high beams whenever you are within 150 meters of another vehicle – a vehicle in front of you going the same direction or opposite direction. I’m not sure how many people can accurately judge 150 meters when they’re driving (let alone when they are not driving!) so be courteous and dim your high beams when you encounter other drivers and pedestrians.

Here are a few other tips about headlights:

  • Drivers are required to use headlights 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunset.
  • At night, use your full headlights – it’s illegal to drive at night with parking lights or daytime running lights instead of headlights.
  • Drivers are required to use headlights whenever visibility is reduced to less than 150 meters (rain, fog).
  • Do not overdrive your headlights. This means that at the speed you are going, you are not able to stop in the distance covered by your headlights.
  •  If a vehicle facing you is blinding you with their high beams, you can look down and to the right side of the road. You should be able to see the right edge of the road or maybe a white line. Even if you can’t see much, you know that you should be to the left of the white line or edge of the road.
  • At night, adjust your rear-view mirror to the night driving position.
  • Make sure your lights are clean!
  • Turn on regular headlights on a dark and rainy day and when going through tunnels so that others can see you (not necessarily to light up the road)

If your high beams are on, you should see this little blue light in your dash:


Please check that your high beams are OFF when you’re facing traffic. You are blinding me and I can’t see anything!!!


Many moons ago, Carmen became an ICBC-approved driving instructor at the age of 22 in North Vancouver, and has spent many years working with new and experienced drivers around the lower mainland. She can be found reading the Motor Vehicle Act for fun while receiving strange looks from others. May the quest for great driving continue!

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  • carmenac

    Well said! I think the other problem is in a lot of new vehicles your dash lights till illuminate at night, regardless if whether your full headlights are on, so some people might not be aware that they’re full headlights are not on. Good tip!

  • Another point often ignored or unknown is that with DRL’s (Daytime Running Lights)your tail lights are not on, too often we find vehicles in poor conditions invisible from the rear, I teach my students to ALWAYS” turn yuor light’s on, make it a habit with buckling your seatbelt.
    If you want to start developing a judge of proper following distance, I never let my headlight beam touch the vehicle in front in the dark, this will help develop a safe daytime habit as well.
    Drive Safe