Driving in VA (Advanced Course)

Photo courtesy of Erik Charlton

Good morning, D.C.

It’s been a very wet and soggy commute this morning.

If you drive in Virginia, please please PLEASE turn your headlights on if the rain is enough to keep your wipers on. “Daytime Running Lights” (those headlamps that are on when your car is in motion) isn’t the same thing – you need to have your parking lights on as well. Otherwise, you can’t SEE YOUR CAR in the gloom and gray. I sure don’t want someone to pancake my own nice sedan (hey, it’s my wife’s car!) and I would really like to not bump yours, either.

And if you don’t believe me, here’s what the VA Vehicular Code has to say:

§ 46.2-1030. When lights to be lighted; number of lights to be lighted at any time; use of warning lights.

A. Every vehicle in operation on a highway in the Commonwealth shall display lighted headlights and illuminating devices as required by this article (i) from sunset to sunrise, (ii) during any other time when, because of rain, smoke, fog, snow, sleet, insufficient light, or other unfavorable atmospheric conditions, visibility is reduced to a degree whereby persons or vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of 500 feet, and (iii) whenever windshield wipers are in use as a result of fog, rain, sleet, or snow. The provisions of this subsection, however, shall not apply to instances when windshield wipers are used intermittently in misting rain, sleet, or snow.


D. The failure to display lighted headlights and illuminating devices under the conditions set forth in clause (iii) of subsection A of this section shall not constitute negligence per se, nor shall violation of clause (iii) of subsection A of this section constitute a defense to any claim for personal injury or recovery of medical expenses for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident.

E. No demerit points shall be assessed for failure to display lighted headlights and illuminating devices during periods of fog, rain, sleet, or snow in violation of clause (iii) of subsection A of this section.

F. No citation for a violation of clause (iii) of subsection A of this section shall be issued unless the officer issuing such citation has cause to stop or arrest the driver of such motor vehicle for the violation of some other provision of this Code or local ordinance relating to the operation, ownership, or maintenance of a motor vehicle or any criminal statute.

(Much thanks to Vivian Paige’s blog for the info.)

So no, you won’t get pulled over for not having them on. But if a cop pulls you over for another violation, you’ll get it added as a citation, like failure to have your seatbelt on. So save yourself the aggrevation from safe drivers like myself – I reserve dirty looks for you people; do you really want that on your conscience? – and a possible accident in the future. Who needs higher insurance premiums when we’ve got these gas prices?

Gloom Returns, courtesy of Erik Charlton

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

Having lived in the DC area for ten years, Ben still loves to wander the city with his wife, shooting lots of photos and exploring all the latest exhibits and galleries. A certified hockey fanatic, he spends some time debating the Washington Capitals club with friends – but everyone knows of his three decade love affair with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A professional writer, gamer, photographer, and Lego enthusiast, Ben remains captivated by DC and doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon.

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