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1 November, 2010

Car Sidelights: What are the Driving Rules and Regulations?

When we hear the term ‘sidelights’, most drivers will automatically think of the small / dim lights on the front of the vehicle.

Car lights at night

Photo by madmarv00

However, this term also includes the rear number plate light.

In some cars, these lights come on automatically when the engine is switched on.

It is true to say that sidelights are of limited use when compared with headlights, particularly in winter weather conditions.  However, there are certain times where their use is vitally important.  We’ll cover this in our fifth winter driving blog post:

Sunset and Sunrise

Sidelights must be switched on between sunset and sunrise even in brightly lit areas as they will help other road users to see your vehicle.

If you have a dark coloured car, you may consider switching on these lights earlier.


Car kitted up with lights

Photo by Keoki Seu

Sidelights must be switched on when your car is parked on a road (or a lay-by on a road) where the speed limit is greater than 30mph.  This will make it easier for other road users, particularly motor vehicles, to see you.

They must also be switched on if your vehicle, for unavoidable reasons, is parked on any road in fog.

In summary; although sidelights do not provide enough light for you to effectively plan your drive at night, they can, when used correctly, provide valuable information to other road users, thus reducing the risk of you and your vehicle being involved in a road traffic incident.

Next week we’ll look at driving in snow and ice to prepare you for the impending colder weather!