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“Ask A Trooper” tackles use of bright lights on the interstate

by Bonnie Amistadi

“ASK A TROOPER” by Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol


Question: What are the rules regarding using your brights while on the interstate?

Answer:  This is what Minnesota State Statute says:  169.61 COMPOSITE BEAM.

(a) When a motor vehicle is being operated on a highway or shoulder ADJACENT thereto during the times when lighted lamps on vehicles are required in this chapter, the driver shall use a distribution of light, or composite beam, directed high enough and of sufficient intensity to reveal persons and vehicles at a safe distance in advance of the vehicle, subject to the following requirements and limitations.

(b) When the driver of a vehicle approaches a vehicle within 1,000 feet, such driver shall use a distribution of light, or composite beam, so aimed that the glaring rays are not projected into the eyes of the oncoming driver.

(c) When the driver of a vehicle follows another vehicle within 200 feet to the rear


So what this means is whether the road is a two-lane, or a divided road such as a four-lane separated by a median or other barrier, a person still needs to dim for oncoming traffic with 1,000 feet.  This would also apply to traffic on frontage road according to the definitions of adjacent. 

1. adjacent - nearest in space or position; immediately adjoining without intervening space;

2. adjacent - having a common boundary or edge; abutting; touching;

3. adjacent - near or close to but not necessarily touching;


If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205.  (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at,jesse.grabow@state.mn.us).