Is it illegal to drive with one headlight?

DRIVING with only one headlamp on might not seem like a big deal – but it can get you in hot water.

Drivers with faulty headlights may face a hefty fine – here’s everything you should know.

Millions of Britons could face hefty fines for driving with blinding headlights


Millions of Britons could face hefty fines for driving with blinding headlightsCredit: Iconica – Getty

Is it illegal to drive with one headlight?

While driving with only one headlight may seem safe enough, it is against the law.

Can’t keep yours headlight in good condition can seriously affect your vision and put you at risk of an accident.

It is especially important to make sure both of your lights are in order at night and in winter conditions.

According to the Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations 1989, “No person may use… any vehicle unless all lights, reflectors, rear markings and equipment… are in good working order and, in the case of lights, , clean.”

The Highway code also states that “lights, indicators, reflectors and number plates MUST be kept clean and legible”.

If the police notice you are driving with high beams and stop you, you will be fined £100 and three points on your license.

But if challenged in court, the fine can rise to £1,000.

You also risk a £1,000 fine if you break any of the new regulations effective January 29, 2022 – read all about the changes to the Highway Code.

Will my vehicle have a MOT failure with one headlight?

One Ministry of Transport every year need to be passed by all UK cars before they hit the road, unless they are under the age of three.

The inspection is to ensure that the car is always in good working order to avoid putting the driver in a potentially dangerous situation.

Making sure your car is in good enough condition to pass the test is essential, as driving without a MOT certificate is against the law and you could be fined heavily.

In order for a car to pass the MOT, all components must be in good working order – including the headlights.

If for any reason the headlights do not work, even show the wrong color or go in the wrong direction, the vehicle will be immediately handled by the MOT.

A blown bulb can be the main cause of this, so you should replace the bulb as soon as possible.

How long do car headlights last?

Paying attention to the life of your headlights can save you a fine or an accident.

Since both headlights are often replaced together, the loss of one bulb is an indication that both are working.

So if you notice one headlight isn’t working, chances are it’s time to fix both.

Follow Sanel NAPA.

Some newer bulbs offer higher efficiency and a lifespan of up to 30,000 hours.

The easiest way to check the life of your headlights is to find out what type they are.

  • Halogen bulbs have a lifespan of 500-1,000 hours
  • The HIDs will disappear after about 2,000 hours
  • Xenon bulbs last about 10,000 hours
  • Highest efficiency LEDs, lasting up to 30,000 hours

Factors such as long-term use or factory failure can affect lifespan, no matter what type of bulb you have.

So take note and make sure to check your headlights are working before you drive.

How to make sure your headlights are working properly

  1. Turn on your car and turn on the headlights
  2. To make sure they are in working condition, wait until dark and park on a flat surface facing a wall.
  3. Go around to the front of the vehicle and make sure the lights are on and working.
  4. If one bulb is dimmed or blown, you may need to replace both bulbs as the other is likely to fail in the short term.
  5. If bulb replacement doesn’t work, most likely the problem is with a faulty connection and needs to be repaired by a mechanic. Is it illegal to drive with one headlight?

Fry Electronics Team

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