Is It Illegal to Drive With a Lightbar On?

An illumination device in the form of a bar that contains numerous bulbs and is capable of producing a light beam with an intensity of more than 30 candlepower is referred to as a ‘light bar lighting device.

The advantages of light bars include enhanced eyesight and visibility, which makes them an excellent complement for drivers who travel in low-light conditions.

Although, based on where you reside, you may be unable to utilize light bars on the highway due to regulatory constraints. In this article, we’ll go over the specifics of those limitations, as well as how you might avoid having your light bar being illegal.

Using Light Bars On Streets

Light bars can’t be used on the street. It is unlawful to drive on highways with a LED light bar switched on due to the intensity of the illumination they produce. In fact, merely turning them off isn’t enough of a countermeasure.

While the car is being driven on public roadways, it is necessary to utilize cover on light bars. These covers guarantee that even if the lights are accidentally switched-on on the streets, then they won’t be a distraction for approaching cars.

Even though the usage of light bars is advised while traveling off-road, it is very risky to do so on public highways. As a result, several states have made the usage of light bars illegal. You’ll need to be familiar with the state’s rules regulating off-road illumination if you want to avoid receiving a penalty.

Few Terms Regarding the Legalization of Using Light Bars

Lighting for Auxiliary Purposes

Most states’ rules do not expressly address off-roading light bars, which becomes an issue. The vast majority of the time, light bars will be classified as “auxiliary lights.” Auxiliary lights are categorized into three parts: fog lighting, driving lighting systems, and off-road lightbulbs.

Fog light bulbs are the most common kind of auxiliary light. These lights may help visibility, but they aren’t as vital as headlights in the same manner that they are.

As a result, in jurisdictions where just two auxiliary lightings are permitted, a pair of fog light bulbs is all that is permitted to be used while driving.


The placement of the mounting site is regulated by the majority of states as well. This is mostly for the purpose of distinguishing between fog light bulbs and off-roading lighting.

Because of the height limits, the mounting space is reduced to the point where anything above the grille will not fit. The ability of lifted automobiles to travel will be further restricted since measurements are obtained from the road’s pavement.

Some street-authorized light bars are mounted at or below the height of the vehicle’s headlights. The use of these devices may increase safety for persons who often drive on open streets in rural areas without breaching the law.

Candlepower (Lumens)

Lumens are the most often used unit of measurement for light output. This implies that off-road lighting will promote the lumen output of their lighting on their packaging and signage. Regrettably, most states specify their legal restrictions in terms of lumen output rather than wattage.

Candlepower is a term that is as out of time as you would expect. Using the formula above, multiply candlepower by 13 to get lumens.

Lighting Color

Color limits are among the few things that remain consistent across state boundaries. Forward pointing lighting cannot be painted with the colors red, blue, or any other color related to legal organizations.

Additionally, they are unable to flash or blink. Many states require that lights be bright and white in order to be legal.

For turn signals in the U. S., the color amber is utilized, whereas red is used for taillights or emergency lights, and white is used for front-facing lights.

DOT Certification

When it comes to lighting requirements, several states rely on the Federal Transportation department rather than developing their own. The Department of Transportation emblem will be shown on DOT certified lights. DOT does not often examine off-roading lights; thus, this basically eliminates them from consideration.

Light Bar laws by State

While we’ll be giving a list to ensure the state requirements regarding the laws of using light bars. Here is the table, given below:




Off-road lighting must be turned off and wrapped with a transparent cover while traveling on public highways.


It is required that any lights with a luminous output larger than 350 candlepower (4000 lumens) be focused such that no portion of the beam strikes 80 feet away from the car.


Only four lights are permitted in front of a car, and they must comply with all applicable lighting regulations.

New York

Despite the fact that it is not strictly forbidden, all auxiliary lighting can’t produce more than 35 candlepower (400 lumens). Light bars with much less than 35 candlepower are not available for purchase.


It is against the law to drive with light bars activated.

Final Note

Off-roading transformation or upgrading lighting systems like light bars are quite common. Light bars give powerful, direct illumination to people who go off-road on a regular basis.

Doesn’t matter where you go, using a light bar cover is by far the most convenient approach to ensure that you remain on good terms with the authorities. Even if you mistakenly switch on the light bar, a cover ensures that you do not jeopardize your safety by doing so.

In summary, a light bar cover is an excellent kind of protection against future tickets.

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