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Ask a Driving Instructor

Whether you are learner driver or an experienced motorist, you can email any driving-related question to info@wycombedrivingschool.co.uk and you will receive a personal response from Wycombe Driving School boss Audrey Wixon, pictured. The best questions and answers will be published on this website anonymously.

Audrey is a DSA ADI; DIAmond, IAM and RoSPA Gold Advanced Driver; Fleet Trainer; Observer for Institute of Advanced Motorists; & National Standard cycling instructor

Audrey Wixon - manager of Wycombe Driving School
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Should you use headlights or sidelights in the rain?

Q: How heavy does it have to rain before you should put your lights on in daylight? And should you put on your headlights or your sidelights? It seems to me that some drivers do one and some the other.
rain on car windscreen A: If the rain is so heavy that you can’t see more than 100m ahead of you, then you must put your headlights on so other drivers can see you more easily. That’s the law. You may also use fog lights when visibility is that poor but you must switch them off again when visibility improves.

If the rain is heavy but you can see further than 100m then it is a good idea to have your headlights on as they will make you stand out more but you are not obliged to in law. There is little point in just putting sidelights on in the rain because they are so low powered that they don’t make much difference to your visibility.

The purpose of sidelights is to make your car more noticeable when it is parked in the dark. The law says you must leave sidelights on when parking at night on a road with a speed limit above 30mph. Don’t worry, this won’t run down the battery overnight unless you have a dodgy battery. However, if you were to leave your headlights on overnight your battery would almost certainly go flat by morning.
Audrey Wixon
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Wycombe Driving School - for driving lessons in High Wycombe and surrounding areas - including Amersham, Beaconsfield, Marlow, Hazlemere, Stokenchurch and Princes Risborough. We offer successful, structured driving lessons, providing free theory test software and lesson handouts. Male and female driving instructors are available, providing both manual and automatic driving lessons.