Laws About Car Lights in Wisconsin

By Mary Jane Freeman
Cars driving on a street at night.

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To operate a car on Wisconsin's streets and highways, you must have the proper lighting equipment and use it at the appropriate times. If you don't and a police officer or motor vehicle inspector spots a violation, you may get a “fix it” ticket -- if you're lucky. You could get a traffic citation instead, which can add points to your driving record.

Requirements for Vehicle Lights

Under Wisconsin law, your motor vehicle must be equipped with two headlights that meet the manufacturer's specifications for its year and model. Fog and adverse weather lights cannot be used on the road instead of headlights. Your vehicle also must have directional signal lights in the front and back that indicate whether you are turning left or right. Hazard warning lights are also required unless your car was manufactured before 1969. Your headlights cannot be covered by anything that obstructs or reduces the amount of light they emit -- and the lens of the headlight cannot be broken, cracked or missing.

Driving at Night

You cannot drive your car at night in Wisconsin unless the headlights and taillights are on, unless it is being towed and visible for a distance of 500 feet. It is legal to have only one taillight, but if your vehicle was originally manufactured and sold with two taillights, both must be in good working order when you drive at night. Additionally, your headlights can only be white or amber in color and taillights must be red. Flashing lights are prohibited.

About the Author

Based on the West Coast, Mary Jane Freeman has been writing professionally since 1994, specializing in the topics of business and law. Freeman's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including LegalZoom, Essence, Reuters and Chicago Sun-Times. Freeman holds a Master of Science in public policy and management and Juris Doctor. Freeman is self-employed and works as a policy analyst and legal consultant.

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