A cracked headlight cover can happen to even the most careful drivers. It can result from hitting a deer, blowing a tire, or hitting something on the road—but most often, it’s just the result of normal driving wear and tears over the years.
If you have experienced a cracked headlight cover at some point and wondered if driving out with it is legal, just keep in mind that driving with a cracked headlight cover is illegal in most states, so it’s important to be proactive about headlight repair. Check out this article for more information about driving with a cracked headlight cover and also answers to related questions about the topic.
Can I drive with a cracked headlight cover?
In a generally safe sense, you cannot drive with a cracked headlight cover. You must replace the headlight cover before driving.
Even if it’s not illegal to drive with a broken headlight cover in your state, it certainly isn’t safe. Why? You risk cracking the cover even more when there is any form of pressure in that area, and soon enough, you can end up with a broken/damaged headlight cover which is another bigger issue on its own; the damaged cover leaves your headlights open to its own damages which can lead you to have a blackout on the road.
Can I get pulled over for driving with a cracked headlight?
While cracked headlight covers are usually considered a minor infraction, police officers still have the power to pull you over and issue a ticket if they see it to be a risk to you and others or if it is not legal in your state and you are caught.
What are the consequences of driving with a cracked headlight cover?
The consequences of driving with a cracked headlight cover are that your visibility may be decreased and you may not be able to see things clearly on the side of the road as your headlights can be coming out looking like streaks of lines. You do not want to have confusing lines appearing on the road you are driving as a result of your headlights “playing tricks”.
Another consequence of doing this is that you can get pulled over and given a ticket if the cops see this as a risk or if your state sees it as legal. In many states, law enforcement is given the discretion to ticket drivers if they believe their headlights are not in a safe condition.
Lastly, you can expect the crack to keep expanding and the cover finally breaks open if you do not get the cover fixed as soon as possible. This may not go too well if it happens on the road as you can risk losing your headlight in the process and get to finish your journey without lights.
What are some states in which it is illegal to drive with a cracked headlight cover?
Some states do not allow the use of a cracked headlight cover. It is illegal to drive with a cracked headlight cover in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, Louisiana, North Carolina and Massachusetts.
Some regions in which it is illegal to drive with a cracked headlight cover in the UK include Scotland and Wales.
Be sure to check with the state driving laws to double confirm if it is legal to do so in your state. If you cannot find this information in the driving book of laws or regulations, check the official government website. The last thing you need is to assume it is not illegal and then you drive out, only to get pulled over.
How much can you be fined for driving with a cracked headlight cover?
The fine for driving with a cracked headlight cover varies depending on the state you’re in. In some states, a person who drives with a cracked headlight cover can be fined anywhere from $25 to $200, depending on how severe the officer perceives it to be.
How do you know if your headlight cover is cracked?
This should be easy for you to detect if you usually do a daily morning routine check on your vehicle before driving out. In any of these checks, you look at the tires, engines, windshield and all, and you also look closely at the headlight cover for any lines that may be appearing as a crack.
If you do not do the checks, however, you can notice that your cover is cracked if you are driving at night or in bad weather and the light look less bright or you are seeing dark lines appearing in front of you on the road.
If you also notice a thin line of light that passes through the headlight cover and goes into the vehicle body, then your headlight cover is cracked.
Should you replace your headlight cover if it’s cracked?
Replacing your headlight cover if it is cracked depends on the severity of the crack. If it’s a small crack, you may be able to fix it temporarily using a clear tape to prevent the crack from spreading (there are rules to using tapes on headlights for each state so check to find out yours). However, if the crack is larger than an inch, or if it’s a significant crack that runs across the cover, then it should be replaced as soon as possible to avoid further damage that may leave you stranded.
What are some tips for preventing your headlights cover from cracking?
Some tips for preventing your headlights cover from cracking include:
- Don’t use high-pressure cleaners to clean the headlight cover. This could cause it to wear off faster.
- Don’t use a hairdryer when trying to dry the headlights or get vapour out. You are only drying it out hard enough to cause damage over time.
- If you cannot use a professional cleaning method to clean and restore your headlights, you should use a safe, reliable cleaner such as Windex to clean your headlights.
- Use a damp cloth to clean your headlights instead of sanding/buffing too often.
Can driving with cracked headlights be dangerous?
Yes, doing this can be dangerous when you look at the series of events that can follow just having a “simple” crack in a headlight cover. If you are driving with cracked headlights, your visibility can be reduced. You can think it is just a crack you can manage, but then this crack is spreading without your knowledge and on a good day you could just be driving as usual and then your headlight cover just breaks after you made a small impact with a curb or something. As if this is not enough, your headlight starts shooting glares at oncoming drivers as there is no cover to reduce the brightness. Then a cop notices this and you get pulled over and fined for deliberately driving with a broken headlight cover which is far from legal. Not to also mention the risk of driving with the broken cover and putting other road users at risk of getting temporarily blinded from the sharp glare and getting into a collision.
If you have a cracked headlight cover, it is best to stop worrying about whether your vehicle is legal to drive or not and work on fixing this problem by replacing the cracked cover with a new one or using a clear tape on the crack if it is small to avoid it spreading. You are not just helping your vehicle but working to keep yourself and others safe.
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