Freeman Cebu Business

Know your car lights

STANDING START - Lord Seno - The Freeman

Admit it, you hit that hazard light button every time it rains hard. Do you know that doing this is wrong? The simple act of making yourself visible under heavy rain might just bring harm than good.

Don’t worry, a lot of you need reminding about the various uses of these lights and when to use them. Let’s run through the basics.


It’s pretty obvious what headlights do. But for those who do not know, you must use headlights when visibility is reduced. As a rule of thumb, headlights are turned on when visibility is reduced by less than 100 meters and that only happens at night-time and during bad weather.

Headlights are at their brightest in the high beam position. They are angled higher than low beam headlights, allowing you to see more of the road ahead. You should only use full beam headlights on dark stretches of road at night. When meeting incoming traffic or following another vehicle, you must turn off high beam headlights as they can often be glaring and may cause accidents.

Fog lamps

As the name implies, these lights are only used when visibility is low, especially during heavy rain or TCH fog. But I admit, Fog lamps are quite useful spotting those potholes in advance. It’s important not to use those powerful fog lamps on roads where headlights will suffice, as you risk dazzling other drivers.

Hazard Lights

This is a hot topic in the net. Hazard Lights are those blinking amber lights on the four corners of our cars, used to warn other drivers of danger or obstruction on the road. This is the triangle shaped icon switch that you see on your dash. It’s important to note that these are the same lights usually used as your turn-signal lights.

You should only use your hazard lights if your vehicle is stationary, to warn others that you’re blocking or partially obstructing the road (like when you’ve broken down or had an accident).

DO NOT use hazard lights while driving in heavy rain or fog as it uses the same lights as your turn-signals. This will confuse the traffic around you.

Turn-signal Lights

Turn-signal lights are the blinking amber lights that are turned on intermittently on either side of your car to warn traffic that you are turning. These are accessed through the signal stalks in the steering column. Again, turn signal lights take up the same position as your hazard warning lights, visible on all corners of your car so if you use hazard lights while moving, you won’t be able to indicate if you’re turning.

If you've passed your LTO license test already, you definitely shouldn't need to ask this!

But for the sake of those who bought their way through a license, let’s review. You should use indicators to show other road users and pedestrians where you intend to turn, obvious. But it should be done in a timely manner. Make sure you don’t signal too late, or turn them on too early, as others might think you’re taking an earlier turn. Rule of thumb is 50 meters before the turn in city driving and 150 meters in highways. What if there is a corner that’s only 20 meters to the next one? You’re driving in the Philippines. A lot of times, common sense rules.

Parking lights

As the name implies, parking lights or sidelights should be turned-on when you park in dark places or in times where headlights are not yet needed like dusk. Parking Lights are also designed to be left on for relatively long periods of time and shouldn’t drain your battery.

Tail lights

Tail lights are red and found at the back of your car. They’re turned on/off at the same time as your headlights. It is important to check these lights from time to time as these are essential lights for being visible on the road.

Brake lights

Brake lights are also red and are located on the tail lights. They illuminate to show other drivers that you’ve applied your brakes and are slowing down.

Always check on these lights and make sure these are working at all times. Aside from the safety risks involved like being rear-ended, a faulty brake light could see you being apprehended by the CTTO or the Highway Patrol Group and fined at least PHP 1,500.


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