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Are Colored Headlights Legal? A Lawful Answer

The standard automobile headlight colors are white or yellowish-white. But headlights of different colors are available, such as blue, green, and red. Are colored headlights legal? There is no straightforward answer. It needs a little explanation to understand which ones are allowed and which are not.

Many drivers want to personalize the look of their car, including the headlights. But you have to keep in mind that they are a safety component. So, customization rules are likely to be bound by some legal obligations.

Are Colored Headlights Legal?

Yes and no. Why? Because there are different rules for public road and off-road driving.

They are legal when you use them off the road or in a private property like in your driveway. Turning them on while driving on the highway or city streets is completely illegal.

The laws may slightly vary in different U.S. states, but they are essentially the same.  For example, the California Vehicle Code section of 25950 clearly states that the life visible in front of a vehicle should be either white or yellow. The same rule applies to tail lights, turn signals, and brake lights.

colored tail lights
Colored headlights and tail lights are illegal. Source:

The only exceptions at the rear side marker lamps that could be read. Even the fog lamps should be in the spectrum from white to yellow shades.

Are yellow headlights legal? It’s clear from the laws that they are, and so are white lights.

Other colors are not street legal and you can use them only for personal use, such as a photo shoot or a commercial purpose.


What about the Blue Headlights

Are colored headlights legal? You have got the answer that they are not. But what about blue headlights? Certain popular headlight types such as LED, Xenon, and some halogen lights are blue. Are they legal?

Yes, they are. They emit bright white light despite looking blue to human eyes because the headlights we are accustomed to seeing are closer to the yellow color spectrum, not white.

LED and Xenon or HID headlights are currently highly popular. If you are confused regarding using them due to their blue emission, don’t be. They are completely safe and legal to use everywhere.

Color Headlights for Cars

So, the legal headlight colors are yellow and white. Blue headlights are also legal because they appear almost white.

Why other colors are not legal, you might be asking yourself. Well, it’s all about visibility. Lights of other colors, such as red, purple, or green, are less visible to other drivers in the dark.

legal headlights
Blue headlights are legal. Source:

The driver himself also won’t see the road clearly. With these headlights on, driving in foggy or hazy conditions would be extremely dangerous.

Are colored headlights legal? Yes, they are, but in certain conditions. You can install them in your car but have to switch on to white, yellow, or blue lights when driving on public roads.

To stay on the safe side, never forget to check the laws of your area before going for an aftermarket headlight fixture.

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