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Can I Drive My Car With Broken Headlights?

can i drive my car with broken headlight

Machines are sometimes unpredictable and cars might be the most unpredictable of all machines as they can suddenly stop working. If you’re on the road and you find that your car’s headlight is broken, a question that might cross your mind is can I drive my car with broken headlights?

Yes, you can manage a broken headlight. However, you should resist the temptation to drive with a broken headlight because of the accompanying risk.

To help you understand and make the right decision, this article contains the risk of driving with a broken headlight.

Risk Of Driving With A Broken Headlight

By driving with a broken headlight, you will be exposing yourself and other motorists to the following risks.


Poor Visibility

The primary purpose of your headlight is to light up the road to make driving at night possible. Driving with a broken headlight means you’re navigating the road with little or no visibility. Thereby putting you and other motorists at risk.

Furthermore, your car headlight helps other motorists and even pedestrians and animals to be aware of an oncoming vehicle. Driving with a broken headlight places you in a blind spot that puts you and other road users at risk.

Depth Perception

When driving, your ability to determine an object at a distance has to do with your depth perception. Without both car headlights working properly, there will be a significant reduction in your depth perception. Therefore, compromising your ability to determine an object or the road in front of you.

Changing Weather

Driving with a broken headlight in clear weather is one thing. However, driving with a broken headlight in poor weather is a whole different story. Weathers are unpredictable and it can be risky driving with a broken headlight in the middle of heavy rain, fog patch, or heavy snowing.

Unexpected Obstacles

By relying solely on a single headlight when driving, it will be difficult for you to spot sudden obstacles.

When driving, unexpected things can happen. Animals can make a sudden passage. Objects can roll across your path. And even other motorists can make sudden stops and turns.

Driving with a broken headlight increases your chances of being caught off guard by the sudden movement on the road.


You Won’t Be Visible To Other Motorists

Headlights do not only enable your vision. They assist other drivers in knowing you’re on the road, especially in poor weather.

Moreover, driving with a single headlight at night can make it difficult for other drivers to make out the shape and size of your car. Thereby making navigation on smaller roads harder and increasing the chances of accidents.

You Might Get A Ticket

Driving with a broken headlight is a traffic offense in many states. The police can easily spot a broken headlight and pull you over. If you aren’t lucky, you might get a ticket.


If you get into an accident while driving with a broken headlight, you can get into lots of trouble with the law. The broken headlight can be taken as proof of the poor state of your vehicle. This can largely shift the blame of the accident on you in court.

Additionally, your insurance company might use the broken headlight as evidence of negligence on your path. Thus gives the company a good excuse to refuse to cover the liabilities that arise from the accident.

What You Should If You Have A Broken Headlight

If you find out you have a faulty headlight before hitting the road, you shouldn’t drive in such conditions. Instead, you should do the following:

Change The Bulbs

If your headlight stops working, it might be due to damage to the car bulbs. If you can, take out the old bulb and replace it with new ones.

Call A Mechanic

If you change your headlight bulb and it still didn’t work, it might be due to an electrical system problem such as the fuse or charging connection. You should call a mechanic to check out the headlights and determine the problem.

If you’re driving and you notice that your car headlight is broken you can follow these steps.

mechanic fixing car headlight

Find The Nearest Service Station

When driving, if you notice your headlight is suddenly looking dimmer, you should try to locate the nearest service station. If you’re lucky, you will quickly get to the service station before the headlights completely go off.

Don’t Stop Suddenly

If you’re driving and your headlight suddenly goes off, don’t stop suddenly, especially if there are vehicles around you. Put on your hazard light and try slowing at a very slow speed. Then slowly drive to the side of the road and park the car.

Determine The Extent Of The Damage

After parking, you should look through the car to determine the problem. Check out other lights in the car such as the turn signals and the interior light and pointers.

If they’re working, it might be a problem with the bulb. If they aren’t working, then it might be a total electrical failure which will consequently shut down the car.

Call A Towing Truck

If your car is on the side of the road where it’s unsafe or illegal to park, you will need to call a towing truck. The towing truck can help you tow your car from the spot and take it to a mechanic. 

If you think your car is safe on the spot, you can consider leaving it till the next morning. However, it’s advisable that you shouldn’t leave your car by the roadside overnight.


The risks of driving with a broken headlight include accident, further damage, liability, and a potential run-in with the law. These are costly risks that come with a heavy cost. Hence they’re risks you should be reluctant to take.

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