When Can You Drive Using Only Your Parking Lights?


Driving safely is a responsibility that all motorists must uphold. Understanding the proper use of vehicle lights is crucial for ensuring road safety, especially during low visibility conditions. Many drivers wonder if they can rely solely on their parking lights while driving. In this article, we will delve into the topic and provide clarity on when can you drive using only your parking lights.

Understanding Parking Lights

Parking lights are tiny, low-intensity lights that are placed at the front and back of a car. They are sometimes referred to as sidelights or position lights. In order to increase the vehicle’s visibility when parked, they are made to emit very little light. Generally speaking, the glow from parking lights is softer and more amber or white than that of headlights.

Legal Requirements

It is crucial to familiarize yourself with the particular laws and regulations pertaining to driving in your area as they change between states and nations. Generally speaking, the majority of jurisdictions forbid driving while solely using parking lights. Parking lights are not meant to be used while driving; they are only meant to be used when a car is parked or stationary.

Using parking lights while operating a vehicle can jeopardize safety and confuse other drivers. The road ahead is not sufficiently illuminated by these lights, making it challenging for drivers to notice and respond to possible hazards. In order to provide the best visibility possible when driving, it is imperative that the proper lighting system be used.

When to Use Parking Lights

While driving with only parking lights is generally not allowed, there are specific situations where they can be used in conjunction with other lighting systems:

  1. Emergency Situations: In case of a breakdown or emergency on the road, when you are unable to use your headlights due to a malfunction or other reasons, you can use your parking lights to make your vehicle more visible to other drivers. However, it is important to remember that this should only be a temporary solution until you can safely exit the road or get your vehicle repaired.
  2. Off-Road Driving: If you are driving on private property or off-road where there are no other vehicles present, you may use your parking lights to provide minimal illumination without causing glare or confusion to other drivers.
  3. Legal Requirements in Some Countries: It’s worth noting that in some countries, such as Denmark and Sweden, it is permissible to use parking lights in certain low-speed situations, such as driving through a residential area at night. However, it is crucial to check the specific regulations in your area before relying on parking lights in such situations.

Safe Driving Practices

While there may be exceptional circumstances where driving with parking lights is allowed, it is important to prioritize safety and follow best practices:

  1. Regular Maintenance: Ensure that your vehicle’s lighting system is in proper working condition by conducting regular maintenance checks. Replace any faulty bulbs promptly to maintain optimal visibility.
  2. Adhere to Local Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the driving laws and regulations in your area to ensure compliance. Ignorance of the law can lead to fines and compromise road safety.
  3. Use the Right Lighting: When driving, always use the appropriate lighting system. Use low beams or high beams depending on the road conditions and visibility. Parking lights are not a substitute for headlights.
  4. Be Aware of Surroundings: Regardless of the lighting conditions, always remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles, and adjust your driving speed according to the road conditions.


Parking lights are not meant to be used while driving, even though they are quite useful while a car is parked. Prioritizing road safety and utilizing the proper lighting system for maximum visibility are essential. Learn the local driving laws and make sure you follow them at all times. Keep in mind that safety should always come first when driving.

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