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Extra lights: When are they illegal?

2014-12-10 08:29

LIGHT-SHEDDING: Obeying legal and safety guidelines will ensure that additional headlights on your vehicle are mounted correctly. Image: Shutterstock

There is often confusion regarding additional headlights and whether they should be considered to be spotlights - strict rules apply to the latter.

There are several factors to take into account before mounting extra lights on your car, 4x4 or bakkie, says Arrive Alive.

“We need to recognise that few vehicle owners living in a city might need additional headlights. They may, however, offer significant value to people living in rural communities and to farmers living in remote areas where there is little or no lighting along gravel roads.

"Owners of such vehicles must make the correct decision before fitting more lights – type, legality and particularly electrical safety are vital."


These are lights legally fitted by law enforcement, breakdown services, ambulances and other emergency vehicles. They can be adjusted in various directions and can be used to illuminate crash scenes.

The general public may not fit spotlights to on any vehicle, reports Arrive Safe.


These are also – erroneously – referred to as spotlights and are permitted on private vehicles provided they adhere to strict conditions:

   • They must be SABS-approved.
   They must be in a fixed position.
   The wiring must done with additional fuses and relays.
   They must have their own switch/switches for manual operation.

In certain cases they can be connected to the main-beam circuit of the vehicle's original headlights, though their use is even more likely to blind drivers of oncoming vehicles.

It is important that these extra headlights are adjusted (aimed) to avoid this.

You can (Wheels24 recommends that you do) read more about the legal requirements involved with fitting extra headlights and spotlights here:  Lighting Headlights and Spotlights on Vehicles and Rules of the Road

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