Motorist beware: If you turn your windshield wipers on, you must also turn on your headlights, according to a new vehicle code that went into effect in July. “I think it’s a good law. It’s common sense,” said California Highway Patrol Officer Ron Burch. “When your headlights are on — they make you more visible to others.” Vehicle law code section 24400 is to be used during severe weather conditions including rain, mist, snow or fog. When weather occurs, motorists must now turn on their vehicles’ headlights when using their windshield wipers. “What we’d like to see is a reduction in traffic collisions in (intermittent) weather,” Burch said. “We receive double calls of accidents during the rain.” The problem that might arise is, as severe weather occurs, officers might be torn between issuing a citation or attending to serious situations. “If there’s a traffic collision, it takes precedence. Our hope ... (is that) people will understand the importance and regulate themselves without having a citation,” he said. Though the new vehicle code has not yet been tested due to positive weather conditions, CHP officers say they are ready to enforce it. “Our officers will aggressively attack it,” CHP Sgt. Andrew Hernandez said. All vehicles must be equipped with two lighted headlamps with at least one on each side of the front of the vehicle. Burch said that vehicle running lights do not count, because on most vehicles only the front lights are triggered and the rear lights are not shown. “Unfortunately, (people) don’t think about it. They think the sun is up and don’t see a need for headlights,” Burch said.
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