Topic:
MOTOR VEHICLES;
Location:
MOTOR VEHICLES (GENERAL);

OLR Research Report


November 2, 2001

 

2001-R-0801

REQUIRED USE OF HEADLIGHTS ON MOTOR VEHICLES

By: James J. Fazzalaro, Principal Research Analyst

You asked if it is Connecticut law that a car must have its headlights on whenever its windshield wipers are in use. If so, you asked if the Department of Transportation has ever considered putting up roadside signs explaining the requirement like those in Vermont.

Connecticut law does not link the display of headlights to windshield wiper use. Instead, it requires a motor vehicle to display its headlights and other required lighting devices (1) from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise, (2) at any time when, due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, people or vehicles are not clearly discernable at a distance or 500 feet, or (3) during any period of precipitation such as rain, snow, or fog.

The legislature chose to word the last requirement to require headlight display during periods of precipitation rather than whenever windshield wipers are being used because there are times, such as during sunny winter days when the moisture from melting snow on the road may require a driver to use his windshield wipers, that putting on headlights would serve no useful purpose.

JF:ts