The benefits of headlights during the day...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

I enjoy your column very much. My question is trivial, but it bothers me. Any explanation for having your headlights on in daylight, in dry weather? I see this fairly often on expressways or highways. I don't see a need for it, but maybe these drivers know something I don't.

TOM: I read in one of those supermarket tabloids (I think it was the New York Times) that it's some kind of signal between aliens, James.

RAY: Actually, James, headlights serve two purposes. They allow you to see, and just as importantly, they allow you to BE SEEN. And that's why people use them during the day. They make you more visible and noticable--even in broad daylight-- which decreases the likelihood that someone will plow into you head-on because they didn't see you.

TOM: And they're particularly useful during the day on two lane highways where passing is permitted. Passing situations on those roads are dangerous, particularly under a glaring sun. And you want to see (and be seen by) oncoming traffic at the earliest possible moment.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One