Trooper Rob: Parking lights don’t count as headlightsPublished 8:39am Friday, December 28, 2012
Ask Trooper Rob
By Robert Herbstreith, Michigan State Police Niles Post
Hi, Tpr. Rob:
For years I have wondered what the specific use is for parking lights on vehicles. If at one time, they were actually used to indicate a parked vehicle, why are they still on cars today?
Also, is it legal to drive with just the parking lights on?
— Beth from Niles
The “why” part of the question, I can’t answer, but I will answer the rest of the question. Yes, you do have to drive with lights on during hours of darkness. MVC 257.684 defines this and states “(a) Every vehicle upon a highway within this state at any time from a half hour after sunset to a half hour before sunrise and at any other time when there is not sufficient light to render clearly discernible persons and vehicles on the highway at a distance of 500 feet ahead shall display lighted lamps and illuminating devices as hereinafter respectively required for different classes of vehicles, subject to exceptions with respect to parked vehicles as hereinafter stated. When lighted lamps and illuminated devices are required by law no vehicle shall be operated upon any highway of this state with only the parking lights illuminated on the front of the vehicle.” This basically states that during the hours of darkness, headlights shall be used, parking lights only, not. The only other answer I can give is the parking lights are the same devices as the turn signals.
What is logical reasoning behind the tinted window restrictions? …. We bought a newer car and license and insuree it in Florida to avoid hassle. Yet, every day I see tinted front windows that are licensed in Michigan.
— Jim from Dowagiac
Jim, the reasoning, again, is something I can only speculate about. It’s scary enough when a police officer approaches a vehicle on a traffic stop. There is an unknown on every stop. To add darkened windows to the equation could be a very unsafe situation. The Motor Vehicle Code does address the use of tinted windows. MVC 257.709 states “(a) A sign, poster, nontransparent material, window application, reflective film, or non-reflective film upon or in the front windshield, the side windows immediately adjacent to the driver or front passenger, or the side-wings adjacent to and forward of the driver or front passenger, except that a tinted film may be used along the top edge of the windshield and the side windows or side-wings immediately adjacent to the driver or front passenger if the material does not extend more than 4 inches from the top of the windshield, or lower than the shade band, whichever is closer to the top of the windshield. (b) A rear window or side window to the rear of the driver composed of, covered by, or treated with a material that creates a total solar reflectance of 35 percent or more in the visible light range, including a silver or gold reflective film.
Remember to email any questions or comments to Ask Trooper Rob at TrooperRob53@Yahoo.com.