Wiper Headlight Law

Wipers On? Headlights On! 

It’s the law in many states and drivers don’t know; play it safe–when raindrops hit the windshield, turn on the lights 


As of April 2010 many states require that when the wipers are on, the headlights must also be turned on.

Rules as to exactly when the lights must be turned on vary. In some states headlights must be turned on when rain reduces visibility to 500 feet or less.

Other states’  rules say that the lights must be on when rain or inclement weather drops visibility to a 1000 feet or less.

In some states, the mere fact that you need to use wipers means that you need the headlights on as well. 

Play it safe: When raindrops hit the windshield, turn on your headlights. You’ll be complying with the law and be more visible to other traffic.

Here is a list of states requiring headlamp use when it is raining at the time this article was written:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Iowa,
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine 
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York,
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia  

State motor vehicle laws are constantly changing, so check with your local motor vehicle department to see whether laws in your area have recently changed. ~ Peter D. DuPre