Readers’ Scoop: Headlights and Brights

With daylight ending early it has become more prevalent. Drivers need to obey the law when using headlights. Some drivers don’t realize there are 2 settings for their headlights, Bright and Dim. (That blue light near the speedometer is telling you that the Brights are on).

Chapter 4.74 in the NJ drivers manual states as follows:

“Bright and Dim

Headlights have two sets of beams: bright (high) and dim (low), which are controlled by a switch or button on or near the dashboard. The bright beam is for open- country driving when there is no traffic in sight. The bright beam helps a motorist see farther ahead and peripherally or at a wider angle. At night, a motorist’s pupils are dilated, allowing more light to aid in the ability to see. Bright beams can momentarily blind other motorists by constricting the pupils and should not be used if other vehicles are approaching or when driving behind another vehicle. It can take three to five seconds for a motorist to recover from the glare of approaching high-beam headlights. At a speed of 50 mph, a motorist will have traveled the length of a football field while being unable to see. If a vehicle is approaching with high beams, a motorist should look to the right of the road until the vehicle passes. Never flash high beams at an approaching motorist.

The dim beams are used for city driving and driving in traffic on roadways. Dim beams are focused down on the road. Dim beams are used when traveling behind other vehicles or when another vehicle is approaching.”

Please make sure to obey this law as much as the others!

Blinkers are also mandatory! As the law states,

“39:4-126. Failure to Use Directional Signal.

39:4-126. Signaling before starting, turning or stopping.

No person shall turn a vehicle at an intersection unless the vehicle is in proper position upon the roadway as required in section 39:4-123, or turn a vehicle to enter a private road or driveway or otherwise turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway, or start or back a vehicle unless and until such movement can be made with safety. No person shall so turn any vehicle without giving an appropriate signal in the manner hereinafter provided in the event any other traffic may be affected by such movement.

A signal of intention to turn right or left when required shall be given continuously during not less than the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.

No person shall stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle without first giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided herein to the driver of any vehicle immediately to the rear.

The signal herein required shall be given either by means of the hand and arm in the manner herein specified, or by an approved mechanical or electrical signal device, except that when a vehicle is so constructed or loaded as to prevent the hand and arm signal from being visible, both to front and rear, the signal shall be given by a device of a type which has been approved by the division.

When the signal is given by means of the hand and arm, the driver shall indicate his intention to stop or turn by extending the hand and arm from and beyond the left side of the vehicle in the following manner and such signals shall indicate as follows:

(a) Left turn.–Hand and arm extended horizontally.

(b) Right turn.–Hand and arm extended upward.

(c) Stop or decrease speed.–Hand and arm extended downward.

Amended by L.1951, c. 23, p. 92, s. 67; L.1956, c. 107, p. 485, s. 2.”

That’s right- you must signal to turn 100 FEET before the intended turn!! Many Lakewood drivers signal during the turn (if at all).

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  1. Wow I always thought I was the only one in town who actually noticed the lack of proper auto light usage in this town!! Thanks for enlightening (no pun intended) the community!

  2. The red octagon shaped sign with the big word that says “STOP” means that you have to come to a COMPLETE STOP!

    When you are at an inertersection eith a traffic light you may only turn on red if there’s NO SIGN that says “NO TURN ON RED”!

    Cell phones are not to be held while driving!

  3. most people in this town don’t even signal and if by chance they do its as they make the turn.

    also i have send a lot of people recently driving in dark without lights at all. i once saw this and pulled up next to the car and honked told the driver you don’t have your lights on and she just looked at me and laughted.

    its very scary driving in this town i say a tefilla each morning before going that i should arrive at my destination safetly.

  4. I think the police should enforce this but I will note that it’s not only a Lakewood problem.I drive home through Jackson and it is the same situation there.

  5. Driver manual language doesn’t define the law- it explains the law. There is a reason they test you on the manual before you can take a road test. If you follow the book you will be following the law.

  6. i think everyone should give a quick “beep beep” whenever the person in front of them doesn’t signal. maybe after getting beeped all the time the driver will understand that they are doing something wrong and will correct the problem.

  7. to #8
    the driver manual gives a lot more information than law. not everything in the manual describes something that is against the law. for example it gives safe distances between cars when driving at different speeds. that does not mean ti is illegal to drive closer. even if it should be. the language above merely describes when low vs high should be used. not when it is legal to do so. otherwise it would be illegal to use high beam at any time in a city or when there is any traffic in sight.

  8. Since New Jersey has become less strict about vehicle inspections, I have noticed a downward trend in the general maintenance of headlights, taillights, and signal lights on all sorts of vehicles…cars, minivans stuffed with children, taxicabs, and cargo vans used for businesses. I cannot count how many times I have almost slammed into these ill maintained vehicles because they typically contain careless drivers as well as careless owners. With all of the MVA’s posted on this site, wouldnt you want to know that you, your wife, your children, and/or your employees were safe? Do a quick inspection of your cars lights tonight, and every month to make sure you arent to blame for an accident, chas v’shalom!

  9. Lakewood police need to enforce traffic laws in the town!
    Cell phone use, grid locking intersections, running red lights & stop signs, in proper left turns..
    The only enforcement I ever see is done by the NJ State Police.
    My comment refers too RT88 and Ceder Bridge roads.
    I drive this area many times daily for the past 6 years, this has been my observation. Take it for what it’s worth.

  10. Just for the record as of Dec 21 the days have been getting ….. just saying….As for the rest of the article, this is Lakewood who cares. One person complains the Cops ticket too much the next person says we need more tickets, as I said this is Lakewood, who cares.

  11. to #1-why should the police give a warning before enforcing? the law and your/other people’s lives are not enough reason to be safe?
    police should enforce all traffic laws, especially in places like lakewood where there are more cars than driving space. the situation is out of hand. i am scared to drive anywhere here, whether it’s across town, to work, or down the block. i have been almost killed so many times on my way home from work just because people think they are going to “beat” me when they turn left from behind a stop sign as i’m approaching. something has got to be done.

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