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Is It Really Illegal to Drive With Interior Car Lights On?

A person turns on a light in a car.
Creative Stock Studio/Shutterstock.com

You’re a kid in the passenger seat as your parent drives. You flip down the mirror, open it up, and the light illuminates your face. Well, it does until your parents tell you it’s illegal to have the light on at night. But is that really true?

Your parents might have some explaining to do because driving with an interior light on isn’t illegal.

Now, that’s not to say it’s a good idea. In fact, your parents probably told you this in order to get you to comply because the light can inhibit visibility. Whether it’s the shine from a flip-down mirror or the light above the center console of your car, it can create a distraction for the driver and make them unable to see road hazards and other drivers on the road.

Vekkia 14 LED Rechargeable Book-Light

Instead of using the car's light, opt for a more subtle book light instead.

Turning on the light for brief periods is fine. But keeping the light on to do things, like reading, isn’t recommended.

While no, in most states, it’s not illegal, it could get you into trouble. There is a chance a driver could get pulled over for distracted driving, and let’s be honest, that’s not great.

The next time you’re on a road trip and tempted to turn on a light, you can do it. You should, however, be sure it’s not on long, and maybe grab a book light for the trip.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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