Is It Illegal to Drive with High Beams?

Here is a question we get asked a lot. And it’s a good one. Is it illegal to drive with high beams in BC? High beams are literally higher beams, so they can tend to blind the people driving towards you.

And if you think about that, it’s a bit scary!

Legally in BC, you must dim your high beams whenever you are within 150 meters of another vehicle.

This includes 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.

It makes sense why it’s illegal to drive with high beams, during certain situations.

illegal to drive with high beams
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Here are a few other tips about Illegal To Drive With High Beams headlights

Drivers are required to use headlights 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunset.

At night, use your full headlights. It is 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. This would happen for example during rain and foggy days.

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.

In other words, you are not able to stop your vehicle in the distance you can see with your eyes. I think it’s obvious why this is a bad idea.

over driving headlights
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 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:

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

Always Use Your Headlights In Tunnels

Carmen Cohoe

Carmen became a driving instructor in beautiful North Vancouver at the age of 22 due to some crazy people who agreed to hire her. After that, there was never a dull moment teaching many different folks from many different places how to drive using automatic and standard vehicles and a minivan.

5 thoughts on “Is It Illegal to Drive with High Beams?

  • Wayne

    There is a real problem with motorbikes not dimming the head lamp in the day time. Today I had one behind me, I said to the person on the bike that his eye blinding brights are on. I said you need to dim your lights, they are blinding my eyes. All he said was I know and no he would not dim them and just laughed at me. I said one day someone or even me could be blinded and run into him. He did not give a crap.
    Time to have something done about this. It was not bad with the old head lamps, Now with The supper bright LED, someone is going to get into an accident and die.

  • DAN

    I was stopped by a policeman when I PUT ON MY BRIGHT HEADLIGHTS TO GET HIM TO LOWER HIS LIGHTS. He said it was against the law to do so and said he could issue me a 200 dollar ticket. I have not been able to get an answer on line!

    • 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.

  • 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

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