Editor’s note: Every week a Lake Oswego police officer answers your questions in this space. Send your questions to reporter Cliff Newell at [email protected], or call 503-636-1281, ext. 105.

“I notice that in foggy, wet, dark conditions that drivers often do not turn on their lights, even though visibility is very poor and the chances for an accident go up. How do police view this?”

Vehicles are required by ORS 811.515 to use headlights at all times during limited visibility conditions. Limited visibility conditions are defined by ORS 801.325 as any time from sunset to sunrise and any other time when, due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, people and vehicles are not clearly discernible on a straight, level, unlighted highway at a distance of 1,000 feet ahead.

So, during heavy rain or foggy conditions, it is required to have your headlights on if you can’t easily see and discern objects 1,000 feet ahead of you. That is legally speaking.OLIVER

Now, speaking with increased safety in mind, the easier your vehicle is for others to see, the safer you are. My suggestion, personally, as a crash reconstructionist, would be to use your headlights all the time, even during the day. This is especially true if your vehicle is of a color that tends to blend in with the surrounding roadway or area.

The presumptive fine for not using your headlights when required by law is $260, a Class B violation.

Officer Jeff Oliver

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