Chapter 7: Lighting and Optical Signals


The function of the lighting of a vehicle is to see and be seen by other users of the road.

7.1 When driving

Between sunset and sunrise or in adverse conditions (Night, rain, fog, etc.) or tunnels:

a) Urban roads and cross-town roads:

  • Sufficiently lit: Sidelights (UK) / Position lamps (USA) + Headlights (dipped beam (UK) / low-beams headlights (USA))
  • Insufficiently lit: Sidelights (UK) / Position lamps (USA) + Headlights (dipped beam (UK) / low-beams headlights (USA))

b) On interurban roads:

  • Sufficiently lit: Sidelights (UK) / Position lamps (USA) + Headlights (dipped beam (UK) / low-beams headlights (USA))
  • Insufficiently lit: Sidelights (UK) / Position lamps (USA) + High beams

It is mandatory to replace high beams with dipped/low beam headlights if there is glare.

If you are traveling at 40km/h or less on an insufficiently lit inter-urban road, you may use low beam headlights instead of high beams.

A road is considered insufficiently lit when: you cannot read a registration (UK) / license (USA) plate from 10 metres or cannot make out a dark vehicle from 50 metres.

Sidelights Sidelights / Position lights: Vehicle lighting for us to be seen, both from the front and the back.
Low-beams headlights Low-beams headlights (Dipped headlights): In passenger cars 2 are required, 1 or 2 for motorcycles.
Luz de Carretera o largas Main / high-beam headlights: In passenger cars 2 or 4 are required, 1 or 2 for motorcycles.
Luz Antiniebla Delantera Front fog lights (white or selective yellow lights):
  • Can be used in adverse conditions except in light rain
  • Optional
  • Can be used in narrow stretches of road with the dangerous bends sign at night
Luz Antiniebla Trasera Rear fog lights (red lights):
  • Used only in very adverse conditions: very heavy rain, snow, dense fog, dense smoke or dust
  • Required
  • Optional on motorcycles

7.2 Lighting when immobilized

STOPPING (TEMPORARY & INTENTIONALLY): Between sunset and sunrise, always use front side/position lights both in and out of a built-up area.

DETENTION (FORCED/OBLIGATED): Between sunset and sunrise, always use front side/position lights both in and out of a built-up area. In case of emergency you should also turn on the emergency lights. During the day, only use the emergency lights.

PARKING: Between sunset and sunrise (night), front position lights, except:

  • Urban roads: no lights are left on.
  • Cross-town roads: front position lights may be replaced by parking lights or the two sidelights / position lights on the road side.

7.3 Other lights

Reflective markers Reflective markers: Passenger cars must have reflective markers of the same colour as the lights. Their shape must not be triangular, except for trailers which are triangular.
End outline marker lights End outline marker lights: Mandatory for vehicles measuring more than 2.10 metres, except motorcycles and 3-wheeled vehicles.
Interior light Interior light: Not mandatory for passenger cars.
Vehicle registration number plate light Vehicle registration number plate light: Illuminates when side/position lights are turned on.
Reverse lights Reverse lights: de color blanco, y se enciende al poner la marcha atrás. 1 obligatoria y 2 opcional.
Emergency lights (flash simultaneously) Emergency lights (flash simultaneously): Yellow. Required on passenger cars and optional on motorcycles. May be used when:
  • If there is a risk of collision by braking on the motorway and dual carriageway
  • Immobilization or driving in an emergency
  • Emergency services in a non-priority vehicle
Brake light Brake light: Bright red. Passenger cars are required to have at least 2 and optionally 3, and in motorcycles 1 is required and 2 are optional.
Adaptive lights Adaptive lights: Improve visibility in certain situations, such as at a curve or an intersection.

Unit test