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"Ask A Trooper" discusses daytime running lights

by Bonnie Amistadi

“ASK A TROOPER” by Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol


Question: My car has running lights and I always assumed that meant my rear lights were on as well, but my husband let me know one day as he was following behind me in the fog that my tail lights were not on. Since then, I have noticed that many other drivers must assume the same thing. You might want to let them know they need to actually turn on their lights during the day when it is foggy or they risk being rear ended. I think this is a good idea for an article, thanks.


Answer: Very true! We have been fighting that battle for many years now and I hear about it all the time from people. I have always taught motorists to drive with their headlights on at all times, even during the day, so they can avoid the whole issue of when to have headlights on. Even if you think you have headlights on all the time, you might not. Turn them on manually; then you will know for sure.


Daytime running lights cannot be used in lieu of actual headlights during the times that actual headlights are required to be on. During those required times of headlights, all the other lights also are required (e.g., tail lights, marker lamps, etc.). Those other lights are not always on when the so-called “automatic” lights are on either. 


If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205.  (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us).