Can I Drive My Vehicle With Just One Headlight?

While vehicle headlights are great at lighting up the road ahead, they also serve another purpose: they signal to other drivers when you need help or even when you want them to do something. The headlights perform that safety feature as well as letting drivers see the road well, especially possible while navigating in the dark or in bad weather.

If you are driving your vehicle with one headlight out, it can be very dangerous, especially in the dark. One headlight poses a lot of risks while driving, so having one headlight on is a bad idea. Driving your vehicle with only one headlight even if it got burned out just when you hit the road isn’t a good idea either.

In the rest of the post, we will be discussing why it is not a good idea to drive with only one headlight and if this act is termed illegal in your state.

illegal to Drive With One Headlight?

Why can’t I drive my vehicle with one headlight?

While it is possible that one can drive their vehicle with just one headlight, it is a very dangerous thing to do and not advisable, especially when it is dark. In some states, it is illegal and can land you a fine or penalty. Even if you feel headlights are not required by law in your region, they are really important to keep you safe, especially on dark roads. The major reasons why you really cannot drive with one headlight include:

  • You risk putting others in danger as some other drivers may not completely see your vehicle.
  • If you do not take extra caution when driving your vehicle with one headlight, you can put yourself in danger of veering off the road or hitting an object you did not see it.
  • The state could penalize or fine you, according to the state laws in your location.
  • You might struggle to send correct signals to oncoming vehicles when you need to notify them.
  • If you manage to escape the above 3 and succeed in driving around with one headlight, any time the second one goes out, you risk getting yourself in trouble if this happens on the road; you would also find yourself making an urgent visit to the repair centre and probably spending more to get them fixed at once.

Vehicle headlights are important — not just for vision but for safety as well. When driving, especially at night, your headlights help you see potential hazards and other drivers. Without them, you are exposed to serious dangers as you drive. Without headlights, you probably can’t see any obstacles and so having a headlight in working conditions is very important.

Can I get pulled over for driving with one headlight?

Yes, if you are found, you can be pulled over for driving with one headlight. Many states require the use of headlights at all times, and failure to do so can result in a ticket and a fine. In some states, it is against the law to drive with one or no headlights, especially at night and when you are caught, you could be detained for a day.

You do not have to get pulled over before you understand that you need to have both headlights working on the road. the headlights will help other drivers see you on the road, and will prevent accidents.

Can you get a ticket for one headlight out?

Of course, you can easily be given a ticket if caught driving with one headlight out. However, this depends on your state laws. In some states, just a warning to get your light fixed is all. But still, best to have your lights in perfect conditions always to stop second-guessing whether you would be caught or not, or be given a ticket or not.

Can I drive with brights on if one headlight is out?

No, you cannot drive with brights if your headlights are out. As a result, you cannot avoid a ticket. The reason you cannot drive with brights if your headlights are out is that the brights can distract you and other drivers while you are driving.

You can only use your brights when it is necessary and only for the reason it is made. When driving and you turn on the brights, it should be dimly lit at times and places it should be used that way. This situation is called the “brights on, dims” scenario. You want to be careful to not drive with brights on in this situation because your vehicle will be difficult for others to see.

To drive safely with one headlight instead of brights, it is best to turn on the working headlight and turn on your interior lights while driving a bit slower. This way, oncoming vehicles can clearly see it is a car and not a bike. However, this may not help you so much if you are not very careful yourself.

Is it illegal to drive with one headlight?

Most state law states that it is illegal for a driver to drive a vehicle with only one headlight. It is also illegal to drive a vehicle with a headlight that is not functioning properly. Doing this can lead to a warning, fine, penalty or even detention in situations where something severe happens.

Depending on which state you’re in, it may be illegal to drive with one headlight or even both headlights out. In some states it’s a misdemeanour, in others it’s a felony.

FAQs to Is it illegal to drive with one headlight?

If you broke one headlight or it got burned out, you may be thinking that it isn’t a big deal as long as you can see, right? Well, driving with only one headlight is illegal in most states. Not only that, but driving with one headlight on can cause other safety problems, such as the increased risk of veering off the road, a delayed response time when driving at night, and difficulty seeing during inclement weather. To avoid these problems, you should fix a broken headlight as soon as possible.

Here are answers to common questions people ask about whether it is illegal to drive with only one headlight:

is it illegal to drive with one headlight in the UK?

In the UK, it is illegal to drive with only one headlight on as it can cause a potential safety hazard to other drivers. If you notice that your headlights are not working properly, you need to contact a mechanic so that they can fix them. If you drive a car in the UK, you need to check your lights often so that you know how well they are functioning and if there are any problems before driving out.

If at any point one light goes off on the road, best to locate a repair centre to get it fixed or head back home if you are not far away. Failure to get it fixed and still moving around with it is unsafe and illegal. If caught, a ticket and fine would be given to you with almost no room to give explanations.

is it illegal to drive with one headlight in Ontario?

It is illegal to drive with one headlight in Ontario. Driving with one headlight is very dangerous because they tend to dim when other cars are following. You should make sure that you keep both headlights on when driving at night and don’t bother using the vehicle if one headlight is out.

The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) states that it is illegal to drive with one or both of your car’s headlights out – “whether you are parked or moving.” The law specifically states that if a driver is pulled over and one or both headlights are out, the driver will receive a ticket for (about) $325. Additionally, the MTO states that drivers aren’t allowed to drive with a headlight out if their headlight is cracked, broken or missing.

is it illegal to drive with one headlight in Florida?

Yes, it is illegal in Florida to drive with one headlight. Just because it’s illegal doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Florida, however, does have some of the most stringent laws. Florida Statute 316.125 states that “every vehicle shall be equipped with a lamp displaying a white light to the front, white light to the rear, and a red colour visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear. Further, a violation is treated as a misdemeanour, punishable by a fine of up to $500, plus 30 days in jail.

is it illegal to drive with one headlight in Texas?

Yeah, it’s dangerous to drive in Texas with only one headlight on, especially the left one. The state recently passed a law that outlaws driving with headlights that are burned out or not operating well. If an officer sees you driving with only one headlight, they can issue a ticket straight away. and the offenders can face a fine of $75 or more, depending on the time of day they are caught.

is it illegal to drive with one headlight in Arizona?

A vehicle’s headlight is vital to reducing accidents caused by poor visibility. It is illegal to drive with only a single headlight in Arizona. Even though Arizona is known for its sunny days, the state sees thousands of car accidents caused by poor visibility. In fact, in 2010 alone, Arizona led the nation in terms of the number of cars with defective headlights. As a result, drivers are required by law to have functioning headlights at all times or be faced with a fine.

is it illegal to drive with one headlight in California?

Driving with one headlamp in California is Illegal. Driving with a defective or burned out headlight results in an immediate citation and operating a motor vehicle with inoperable headlamps or tail lamps is a misdemeanour offence. In California, though it’s illegal to drive with one headlight out, in some cases, you can do so as long as a second one is still on and you intend to fix it soonest. However, you are expected to drive extra carefully when you are moving with one light to protect yourself and others from harm.

is it illegal to drive with one headlight in Michigan?

Michigan law states that vehicles with only one headlight on are considered illegal to drive on public roads. All vehicles are required to have the headlights on at all times, and any vehicle that only has one headlight on is considered illegal. A vehicle that only has one headlight on can be pulled over and the driver could be issued a fine because according to the Michigan Vehicle Code, Section 257.903.1, it’s illegal to drive with only one headlight. After all, doing so impedes the vision of the driver, passengers and others on the road.

is it illegal to drive with one headlight in NSW?

Driving with one headlight in NSW is illegal. It is a grave offence and it is against the law to drive a vehicle in this condition. It is also against the law to drive a motor vehicle that has any defective light. When caught, you get a fine that must be paid without delay, while you are also sent off to where you can get the lights fixed immediately.

When is it illegal to drive with one headlight?

Driving a vehicle with damaged headlights is not only dangerous but illegal as well at all times. This is because any vehicle that is being driven on the road should have two functioning headlights. If only one headlight is working, then your vehicle is not roadworthy. Regardless of the circumstances, it is illegal for you to drive with headlights that are not working. The following are some scenarios when drivers should replace or repair their (one or two) headlights and not bother using them on the road that way:

  • when the headlight(s) is not functioning properly
  • when the headlight(s) is not as bright as it used to be
  • as soon as you notice the headlight(s) is having cracks
  • when the headlight(s) is broken or damaged in any way
  • when the headlight(s) burns out

is it illegal to drive with one headlight during the day?

Even though people have tried to say this is not a necessary evil, it is illegal to drive with only one headlight during the day. Why? Because your vehicle needs to be prepared at all times, even during the day as you do not know when bad weather may hit on the road and then you and other drivers begin to struggle to stay safe on the road.

Most people drive with their headlights during the day, but it’s still illegal to do so. Under the Highway Traffic Act of 1939, if a vehicle has only one headlight, the headlights should be adjusted so that the lights are of equal brightness.

In what other states is it illegal to drive with just one vehicle headlight?

Not only the residents of the states are the only ones that get fined or penalized for having one headlight out. Drivers in other states receive the same as it is illegal. Some other states where it is illegal to drive with only one headlight on, and where you can get pulled over, fined or penalized include California, Georgia, and Louisiana, as well as in Canada and Nigeria, which can also be fined.

It is also good to check with your state laws to be sure of what the issue is if you are found with one headlight on the road. however, whatever the case may be, safety comes first and even if your state doesn’t see it as illegal, it would probably cost you nothing to always make sure both lights are working to keep yourself and others safe from harm.



In summary, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says yes. Your vehicle must be safe to drive on roads at all times and this includes using both headlights always. It will pay you to quickly get your lights fixed when it is bad instead of trying to manage it that way and driving on roads where you are not alone. Apart from the fact that you may or may not be caught by the law, you are posing a risk for yourself and others. This is almost equal to the “don’t drink and drive’ rule.


Hi, just letting you know that all products recommended here have been used by me, or are properly researched to ensure they are the best you are getting without bias.

I am also an affiliate for certain Amazon products and this means that some links here are affiliate links. If you purchase an item through any of them, I MAY earn a commission at no extra cost on you.

Leave a Comment