Q: Driving at night is becoming a blinding experience. Isn’t there a limit to the height of headlamps? — Scott
A: I shortened Scott’s question a bit because several people have emailed lately asking about the blinding height and number of headlights. So what’s allowed in Washington State?
Warning: As you may have guessed, this is not the most exciting Traffic Q&A I’ve ever written.
Anyway. Some readers have said they’ve noticed more lights on the front of vehicles, especially pickup trucks.
As it turns out, there is a limit to the number of auxiliary lights you can have on the front of your vehicle and their height.
I asked Sgt. James Prouty of the Washington State Patrol for help on this one, and he sent over some relevant sections from the Revised Code of Washington.
First things first: As we’re all probably aware, you’re required to have at least two head lamps with one on each side of the front of the vehicle.
As to their height, according to state law: “Every head lamp upon every motor vehicle shall be located at a height measured from the center of the head lamp of not more than 54 inches nor less than 24 inches.” So, from the center of your headlamp to the ground should measure between 2 feet and 4-1/2 feet, basically.
According to state law, any vehicle can also have up to two auxiliary driving lamps, or lights — and they have to be mounted on the front. The heights on those auxiliary lamps have to be between 16 inches and 42 inches above level ground on which the vehicle is standing.
You can also have up to two fog lights mounted on the front of your car, at a height of no less than 12 inches but no more than 30 inches, state law says.
Also, a little something on spot lights: “Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not to exceed two spot lamps and every lighted spot lamp shall be so aimed and used that no part of the high intensity portion of the beam will strike the windshield, or any windows, mirror, or occupant of another vehicle in use.”
So don’t shine your spot light on another car while you’re both driving down the road.