The penalty for driving without lights at night can vary depending on the situation you’re in and whether it is classed as a minor offence or ‘driving without due car or attention’.
What is the penalty for driving without lights?
In most cases you’ll simply get a fine of £50, with no points on your licence. However, some police officers may consider driving without lights at night to be “driving without due care or attention”. And there are serious penalties for driving without due care and attention. At the very least, you’ll get a £100 fine and three points on your licence. But in serious cases, you could get a fine of up to £5,000, up to nine points on your licence, and even a court summons.
How to Know When to Turn Your Lights On
As a general rule of thumb, you should turn your headlights on 30 minutes after sunset and until 30 minutes before sunrise. But it’s a good idea to keep your headlights on at all times when driving at night. You may not get in any trouble if you’re driving without your headlights in a well-lit area with a 20mph or 30mph speed limit. But it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Also pay attention to other road drivers. If you notice that everyone else has their lights on, then it’s probably time you did the same.
Many modern cars have automatic headlight settings. So if you’re in any doubt, use this and your headlights will come on automatically when it gets dark.
Remember to use dipped headlights when driving in built-up areas, or when you’re behind, approaching, or overtaking other road users. Only use the full beam when it’s particularly dark, and when there’s nobody else around.
Can You Drive With Broken Headlights?
If you drive with broken headlights, the police may stop you. They might just give you a verbal warning. Or they might give you a fixed penalty notice, resulting in a £60 fine and three points on your licence. They may also give you a Vehicle Defect Rectification Notice. This will give you 14 days to fix your broken headlights, and you’ll also have to provide proof that you’ve made repairs.
If the police decide it’s too dangerous for you to continue on your journey with your broken headlights, they may take your car off the road immediately.
You need sufficient light to be able to clearly see where you’re going. If one or both of your headlights is broken, you’re unlikely to have enough light to see.
So if you have broken headlights, get them fixed as soon as you can.
Another thing to bear in mind – if you’re involved in an accident while driving with broken headlights, it may invalidate your car insurance.
Can You Drive With a Broken Headlight During the Day?
In most cases, you’ll be fine to drive with broken headlights during the day. However, there are some scenarios where you’ll need them. On a dull day, headlights can make it easier for other cars to see you. Many drivers also turn their headlights on when driving through tunnels or other dimly-lit areas. And of course, you’ll need your fog lights if things get foggy.
So while you can drive with broken headlights during the day, you probably shouldn’t. You never know when you might need your headlights. So if you’ve got any problems with your headlights, sort them out as soon as you can.
Tips For Driving in the Cold and the Dark
You’ll use your headlights more often in the colder months, when the days are short and dull and the nights are long and dark.
We have some essential guidance for driving at night, and in the winter: