When to use high beam headlights?

Updated Jan 14, 2021 | Same topic: Automotive FYIs

Should you use it when it’s raining?

What are high beam headlights?

Everyone experienced what it’s like to be blinded by high beams from opposing traffic or even vehicles that are tailgating. We can all agree that these types of occurrences are annoying, and also dangerous.

All cars come with high beam headlights as a standard feature. Low beam headlights are also standard in all cars. When driving on roads with street lights, you usually use low beam headlight settings. On the other hand, you use high beam headlight settings when the road is not well-lit.

BMW with turned on high beams

Don't know when to use your high beams properly can become a danger to your fellow drivers

High beam headlights produce bright lights that can blind naked eyes. With that being said, improper use of high beam headlights can lead to accidents.

Why do people use high beam headlights then? Most motorists say that they couldn’t see the road clearly so they use high beam headlights instead of using low beam headlights. 

Headlight of a car

Always turn off your headlights as you leave your car to avoid draining your battery

This is why the Land Transportation Office (LTO) takes these occurrences seriously. LTO said that if a vehicle is at least 300 feet in front of you, it is required to use low beam headlight settings. The agency is imposing a Php 150 fine for those who fail to dim their high beam headlights.

To avoid receiving a fine from LTO or help you become a better driver on the road, read the articles to find the proper answer to the question "when should I use high beams?". 

>>> Related: Car lights and the importance of checking them regularly

When to use high beam headlights?

The most common road condition where you should use your high beam headlights is when it is dark. In other words, places where there are no streetlights. These places are usually found in provincial roads or in the rural areas.

Using high beam headlights in dark places can help you see animals on the road, potholes, and even crossing pedestrians. A high beam can also alert pedestrians so they can see you ahead of time, reducing the risk of an accident.

A car in a foggy place

Don't use high beams in foggy areas

In dark places, lights from opposing traffic can be seen easier. Once you saw an incoming car, switch to low beam headlight settings. This way, you will avoid blinding the driver of the incoming vehicle. 

If a car from opposing traffic keeps on using his/her high beam, you shouldn’t use a high beam too. Instead, use your car’s low beam headlight settings as road etiquette. Retaliating in this type of situation is the last thing you would want as accidents can turn your life completely around. Be the better driver despite other drivers’ incompetence on the road.

A vehicle illuminating its headlights

Low beam headlights are the normal operating settings

LTO suggested that if you are being blinded by high beams from other cars, quickly turn your sight to the right side. This can help you avoid temporarily losing your vision. Focus on the white lines on the right side to know exactly where your car is heading.

Another scenario where you can use your high beam headlights is when you are signaling the car in front of you that you are overtaking. However, avoid using them excessively as they can blind the car you are approaching. One or two flicks will do. 

The driver in front of you could be on his/her phone or blasting loud music. This is why sometimes horns cannot be thoroughly heard. You should be using horns only when the situation is highly critical which can cause accidents.

>>> Related: Hazard lights – when and when not to use them [Newbie Guide]

When NOT to use high beam headlights?

As said earlier, using high beam headlights can be dangerous not only for you but also for the drivers around you. For this reason, refrain from using high beam headlight settings at all times and use low beam headlights in normal road conditions.

You should not use your high beam headlights when you are approaching a car from behind. All cars have a rearview mirror and side mirrors. Your high beam can reflect on the driver in front of you which can distract him/her. Use them once or twice only for less than a second each to notify the driver in front of you that you are overtaking.

BMW daytime running lights (DRL)

Most modern cars come with daytime running lights (DRL) as standard which serves as added safety

The next scenario where you should not use your high beam headlights is in the event of rain. High beam headlights produce bright lights. This will reflect on the raindrops ahead of you which will only cause you to reduce visibility.

This is also the case for fogs. Never use your high beam headlights in this type of situation as they will only reflect their bright lights. Instead, turn on your fog lights. They are purposely made for fogs so you can have a safer drive in this condition.

To conclude, use low beam headlights in areas where streetlights are widely available such as EDSA and C5. On the other hand, use high beam headlights to keep you safe from rural areas where streetlights are not available. Be sure to use them properly to reduce the risk of getting into an accident.

>>> Related: 

FAQs about high beam headlights

Q: What are high beam headlights?

High beam headlights are used for wider visibility especially on dark roads.

Q: Do all cars have high beam headlights?

Yes, high beam headlights are a standard feature in all cars. Low beam headlights are also a standard feature that offers dimmer lights as compared to high beam headlights.

Q: When to use low beam headlights?

You should use your low beam headlights on roads where streetlights are available.

Q: How to turn on my high beam?

There are two ways you can turn on your high beam. The first one is pulling the turn indicator stalk backward. This will temporarily turn your high beam on. The second one is pushing the turn indicator stalk forward. This will turn your high beam on indefinitely until you wish to retract it.

Q: How much is the fine for improper use of high beams in the Philippines?

LTO is imposing a Php 150 fine for those who fail to dim their high beam headlights.

Here at Philkotse.com, we value your interest in the automotive industry. Visit our website to find out more.

Rex Sanchez

Rex Sanchez


Rex Sanchez grew up in Saudi Arabia where he saw and got into the automotive scene. He started his career for an aviation company in the said region, writing about turbines and rotors which are later distributed for educational purposes. And now, he joined Philkotse.com as a staff writer. Currently, he is the youngest on the team and is more than ready to grow in the field.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rexsanchez09

View more