The lighting of our vehicle is something fundamental, although many times we do not give it the importance it deserves. A behavior that not only influences our security, but can also affect our pocketbook.
Although they are always the great forgotten, car lights are one of the key elements when it comes to our safety. These lights allow us both to see the road clearly and for other drivers on the road to notice our presence or to be aware of the maneuvers that we are going to perform. A presence, that of lights, which has intensified in recent times, with innovations such as daytime running lights or LED headlights, which are currently the best car lights that we can mount in our vehicle.
However, if those lights are not in good condition or are not being used correctly, they can cause problems. And for that reason, our highway code includes fines and penalties for some of the most common misconduct that can cost us annoyance when it comes to getting on the road. Luckily, it’s something you can avoid, especially if you know what not to do.
1. Failure to turn on lights when appropriate
According to the highway code, the vehicle’s dipped beams must be turned on between sunset and sunrise, as well as in those areas where their use is mandatory, such as tunnels, reversible lanes or wherever the signage requires it. Failure to turn on the lights can cost you up to 200 euros, depending on the circumstances. For this reason, more and more cars have a light-on sensor, which is in charge of turning on the lights when the light is scarce, either in tunnels and the like or when night falls.
2. Improper use of fog lights
This is one of the issues that creates the most controversy among users, due to the discretion of the measure. According to the code, the use of the fog lights is restricted to those situations in which there is heavy rain or fog, or in the presence of snow, dust or smoke in the environment. In addition, the headlights are used differently from the rear light, which is reserved only for the most intense events.
As we can see, the rule is quite lax in its definition, so that what for a driver can be intense and cause the lighting of those lights, for an agent it may not be and can become a fine. The worst of the matter is that the penalty for the improper use of the fog lights is 200 euros, so it is not cheap.
3. Wear a cast headlight
Carrying a burnt out headlight is one of the most common problems in the vehicles that circulate on our roads. Worst of all, many drivers do not realize it until they have a ticket, since it is sometimes difficult to see that burned out headlight with the naked eye. Something to which is added the fact that there are few vehicles that warn you of such a circumstance.
As if that were not enough, the increasingly complicated design of the lights, together with new technologies such as LEDs, have made a relatively simple operation such as changing a bulb in our headlights a complex process that requires an almost mandatory visit to the workshop . In any case, not having the headlights in good condition translates into a fine of 200 euros, although without loss of points in this case. Something that also applies to headlights dull from the sun and use.
4. Refuel with the lights on
In any gas station we have, at least, as many signs reminding us to turn off the car lights when refueling as there are pumps the station has. The reason is easy to understand. The lights on cause the battery to be active and, therefore, a spark may be generated that ignites the gaseous and combustible atmosphere that forms in these environments.
It is the same reason why mobile phones, radio or any other similar device cannot be used within the gas station environment, as they can also cause that spark that triggers a misfortune. As with these cases, the fine is the same: 200 euros and 3 points less on the card.
5. Do not signal the maneuvers
Although for many users they are an ornament, the existence of the indicators has a key reason, such as to warn the rest of the road users when we are going to make a turn or when the vehicle is immobilized for any reason and unexpectedly.
In this case, the penalty varies, being 80 euros in case we use them later than should and 200 euros in case we do not use them at any time during said maneuver. By the way, if you have a faulty turn signal, it is still mandatory to notify the maneuvers, although in this case you will have to use your arm to do so.
6. Driving with trailers and other accessories without the corresponding lighting
Sometimes, we resort to certain accessories to transport what does not fit in our car. This is what happens with trailers or bicycle racks, to name a couple of examples. In the case of trailers, it is mandatory that they include a set of lights at the rear with the same ability to show maneuvers as the lights of the vehicle itself.
We must do the same with bicycle racks, in those cases in which they prevent the vehicle’s license plate and lights from being clearly seen. For this, some products already include support lights at the rear, while others will need to be added separately. In both cases, the penalty is 200 euros, although it can be increased if other risk factors are present.
7. Driving with a burnt out license plate light
The license plate lights are one of the great forgotten when talking about the lighting of any car. These lights illuminate the vehicle’s license plate, which is the basic element for identifying the vehicle. So carrying one of these lights out is also considered an offense, amounting to 200 euros.