Traffic Talk: Headlights are illuminating at all times of day

Don Gammill: Oklahoma drivers need a lesson on proper times for illumination, reader says
by Don Gammill Published: September 10, 2012
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Here's a note from an Oklahoma A&M grad, class of 1954, “who happily moved back to Oklahoma 12 years ago.” But he says there's something that really disappoints him. See if you agree.

Being taught to drive in Chicago in my youth, and through the following many years, I had to accustom myself to the different driving laws of several states that I lived in. I became very aware of one super outstanding Oklahoma quirk — DRIVING WITH NO HEADLIGHTS ON during all stages of rain snow, sleet, fog, early daylight, early nightfall ... I did call the police department concerning this because they too were doing the same thing. I was plainly told ... that this practice is supported by the Oklahoma driving laws. I was taught in my driver's ed. that you turned on your headlights at the first sign of rain, sleet, etc., and the early signs before daylight and again before the early signs of nightfall. I ... as well as the others who practice turning our lights on, will still continue this practice as we were taught, if only as a courtesy, to the drivers who do not. ... Please. The next time you have to drive during a rainy, foggy, snowy day ... observe how many cars do not drive with their lights on ... (and) how difficult it is to see cars coming up ... from the rear. See how hard it is to see vehicles in front of you when cars and trucks are ... kicking up clouds of water ... We need to get into the 21st century of driving in Oklahoma. ...

— An Aggie from Stillwater

Some good points, Aggie, and here's the official word from Oklahoma Statute 47-12-201 (When Lighted Lamps Are Required).

It says: “ ... 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, due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of five hundred (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. Every motorcycle and every motor-driven cycle upon a highway within this state, except motorcycles and motor-driven vehicles used in official law enforcement capacities, shall display lighted lamps and illuminating devices at all times.”


by Don Gammill
General Assignment Editor and Columnist
Don Gammill is general assignment editor and columnist. A native of Ponca City, he graduated from Central State University (now the University of Central Oklahoma). While in college, he was a sports stringer for The Oklahoma City Times....
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