What Is A High Beam Indicator? (Explained For Beginners)

Your headlights are very important for road visibility because it is paramount for your own safety and that of other people that you see what is in front of you while you are driving.

That’s where high beams come in especially when you are no longer in an urban settlement and the roads can be darker than what you are normally used to.

What is a high beam indicator and when does it turn on?

The high beam indicator is simply the indicator on the dashboard that tells you that you have your high beams turned on. This is important because not all drivers are aware that their high beams are on while they are driving. As such, the high beam indicator will simply remind you that you have the high beams turned on.

High Beam Indicator

It is important for you to know whether or not your high beams are on. That’s because high beams will not only drain your battery but will also annoy and irritate other drivers especially when you are driving on a particularly busy road that is actually well-lit.

As such, you need to make sure that you know when your high beams are on so that you can be reminded to turn them off when there is no need for them.


What is the purpose of a high beam?

One of the most important things you need to keep in mind when you are driving is safety.

And so we are not merely talking about personal safety here because we are also talking about the safety of others who are on the road.

Even the owner’s property should be considered when it comes to road safety.

The point here is that you need to make sure that you prioritize your own safety and that of others while you are driving.

In that regard, the headlights were meant to be used to make sure that you get to drive safely because of the very fact that headlights are capable of allowing us to see what is in front of us while we are driving during low-visibility conditions.

And you have to know that there are two settings when it comes to our headlights.

These are low beams and high beams.

While we know that the low beams are supposedly your “default” headlight setting in the sense that you should be using it more especially if you often drive on a well-lit road, you might be wondering what the high beam is supposed to be used for.

If the low beam is already bright enough in a lot of different instances, then what’s the purpose of your high beams?

So, in relation to that, let’s look at both the low beams and the high beams when we want to determine the purpose of your high beams. 

Low beams

In many cases, the low beams are already enough for plenty of drivers because of how they provide enough visibility. The usual max distance that low beams can illuminate is about 300 feet, which might sound pretty good.

However, you have to understand that it will only take 3.4 seconds for a car that travels 60 mph to cover that distance. Of course, you will be able to cover that distance if you are driving faster such as when you are going over 80 mph on the freeway.

Because of how fast you are able to cover the distance that your low beams can illuminate, there is a chance that you won’t be able to see what’s in front of you until it’s already too late for you to react. This is quite common in places that are not illuminated well enough such as freeways that are located in rural areas.

High beams

Meanwhile, the high beams are capable of extending the reach of your headlights beyond 500 feet, and that is actually a good upgrade from what the low beams can do.

As such, when you are driving on a road that isn’t lit enough and can be pretty dark at night, it might be useful to flash your high beams so that you will be able to see what’s in front of you clearly.

However, because of the fact that high beams can be dangerous for oncoming traffic, you need to understand that there are limits to when you can use high beams.

It might be ideal to use your high beams the entire time but the fact of the matter is that high beams can annoy, irritate, or even temporarily blind any oncoming driver. 

When that happens, there is a good chance of causing an accident when you do end up temporarily blinding an oncoming driver as the equivalent of seeing high beams while you are on a dark road at night is similar to looking straight into a flashlight in a dark room.

Because of that, there are actually states that mandate that you never use your high beam when you are within 500 feet of traffic.

That means that, if there is no car within 500 feet, you can use your high beams.

All that said, you should only be using your high beams when the following conditions are met:

  • You are driving on a dark road at night
  • There is no other car within 500 feet from you

Which beam to use?

So, when you do meet those conditions, then there should be no problem with using your high beams. However, in all other cases, it is best to stick with your low beams.

After all, if there are other cars within 500 feet from you, your road visibility won’t be hampered too much even if the road is pretty dark.

What is a high beam indicator?

Now that you know what your high beams are for and when you should be using them, one of the things you need to be careful of is in relation to when your high beams are on.

That’s because there are some instances where you might not notice that your high beams are on when they actually are, and this can be annoying and dangerous to oncoming drivers who may end up becoming the victims of temporary blindness due to your high beams.

As such, we have something called the high beam indicator, which serves the purpose of telling us that our high beams are on.

The colour of the high beam indicator is blue and the symbol includes five parallel lines beaming in front of the shape like capital “D” that looks like a headlight.

So, the high beam indicator is simply an indicator found on the Instrument cluster or dashboard of the vehicle. The indicator light will turn on when the high beams are on. Naturally, when the high beams are turned off, the indicator light will also be turned off.

The point of the high beam light is to make sure that you are aware that your high beams are turned on.

As mentioned, there are dangers involved when it comes to your high beams as this can be very dangerous to oncoming drivers.

Even if your high beams may be convenient, they are particularly dangerous and can cause accidents especially at night when the road is dark and your high beams are so bright.

In a way, the high beam indicators are there to tell you to be a considerate driver as you will be able to tell if the high beams are on or not.

Of course, when the high beam indicator is turned on and you are driving on a road that doesn’t even require you to have your high beams turned on, then the logical thing to do is to turn your high beams off and to stick with your low beams.

Meanwhile, if you are actually in need of your high beams such as when you are the only car on the road in the middle of the night and the road is pretty dark, then you shouldn’t be bothered when the high beam indicator is flashing or is turned on. That’s because you actually need the high beams this time.

How do you signal high beams?

As we have discussed, the high beams may be important to you as a driver at times but they can also be very disruptive and dangerous when it comes to oncoming traffic.

In that regard, let’s put ourselves in the place of someone who is actually bothered by someone’s high beams while driving.

Now, the high beams are not only bothersome for oncoming traffic but also for those who are sharing the same lane because, when you look at your side mirrors or your rearview mirror, you might end up getting your eyes hurt when the car behind you is using its high beams.

So, how do you signal that someone is using his high beams?

This can be something that isn’t universal simply because of how there are many ways for you to try to signal someone whose high beams are turned on.

If you are not sharing the same lane but you are on opposite sides of the road, what you can do to an oncoming driver whose high beams are turned on is to try to flash your headlights so that he will be reminded that his high beams are on. 

Meanwhile, if you are sharing the same lane and the car behind you has its high beams on, try flashing your hazard lights so that the driver will be able to see it and he might understand what you are trying to tell him.

As useful as the high beam indicator might be, there are simply people who might forget the meaning of the indicator light and have become too careless to the point that they leave their high beams on.

In such instances, you might be able to help them out with simple signals that will tell them that they are becoming inconsiderate of others as they leave their high beams on.


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