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Ask A Cop: When should I use my headlights?

(A Lake Oswego police officer answers readers’ questions each week in this space. To submit a question, call staff reporter Cliff Newell at 503-636-1281 ext. 105 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

“I got a ticket for driving with my parking lights on. How are they different than daytime running lights or some of the LED lights that newer cars have?”

OLIVERI can’t speak to the visibility conditions at the time of your citation. However, ORS 811.515 provides that during times of limited visibility, your parking lights cannot be the sole source of illumination for your vehicle.

Generally speaking, times of limited visibility are from dusk until dawn. During these periods, your headlights must be on when your parking lights are on.

Usually vehicles that have daytime running lights or LED lights also come equipped with a system that turns the headlights on when lighting conditions are degraded. One can use parking lights when operating a vehicle on the roadway, but only during favorable conditions.

If you have a specific request or see a violation occur, the Lake Oswego Police Department encourages all citizens to contact the non-emergency line at 503-635-0238 and an officer will be dispatched as soon as available.

— Officer Jeff Oliver