Well, not if you’re in Alberta, Canada. The legalities of using aftermarket lighting, even headlights, on cars, trucks, RV’s, and boats can be strict in certain areas. The United States, however, pretty much allows things like underglow packages and wheel lights for a car, given certain provisions:
Colors Are SUPER Important!
This one should be a no-brainer, but if you’re rockin’ red and blue flashing lights on your vehicle, you can pretty much expect to have an, let’s say, uncomfortable day with any of the OTHER cars that rock those color lights.
Red and blue in particular are not allowed to be shown from the front of anything except emergency vehicles in ANY state, and will get you a ticket and possibly arrested, depending on the mood of the officer at your window.
HOWEVER, red and blue are not expressly forbidden on various parts of the vehicle in different states.
Location Is Everything, Know Your Local Laws
Colorado, for instance, does not have any specific laws on red and blue lighting, (such as underglow or wheel lights), except in regard to the front of the vehicle. Green light, on the other hand, is illegal to display anywhere on the vehicle. Therefore, Colorado residents view underglow lighting legal, and it is up to the owner if they want to try the red and blue underglow.
In my lovely state, Florida, red light is not allowed to be displayed from the front of the vehicle, and blue light is illegal anywhere on the vehicle. Also, flashing lights on the front are prohibited.
I have the slow scrolling Knight Rider-style scanner light in my grille, which I’m sure is riding the line. I’ve passed a couple of state boys with no incident though, so I’m leaning toward legal.
In California, they enforce brightness laws on underglow kits, the vehicle may not emit more than 0.05 candela, (base unit of luminous intensity), from any aftermarket lighting. Also, any installed lighting must be at least 12 inches from the required lighting on the vehicle.
In certain places, such as Washington D.C., basically any display of aftermarket lighting on a moving vehicle is illegal, and even when parked you are advised not to display red, blue, or flashing lights.
No matter where you go, if you love running your LED lighting kits, be sure to know what will get you stopped. Here is a list of all the state laws regarding underglow.
Have A Little Respect
While those of us with aftermarket vehicle lighting on our cars really enjoy driving around with them on all the time, it’s always a wise idea to have your lighting on a killswitch, preferably right at your fingertips. Why?
Because its not just YOUR highway.
If you are approaching an emergency scene, the last thing that the first responders need is more confusion. Go ahead and shut off your cool lights for a minute until you clear the scene. Trust me, during those moments, nobody cares one way or the other about your lights, and the least you can do is try not to distract the guys risking thir lives on the side of the road.
I also suggest that when driving through residential neighborhoods at night, especially after a certain hour, maybe 10 or 11, go ahead and kill it. Honestly, you’re just shining irritating lights into the bedroom windows of hard working people, while they’re trying to sleep.
One other concession, if you’re planning on speeding, or in any other way intending on breaking a law, use common sense. Turn off the bright, flashy eye-catcher and stop drawing attention to yourselves!
All you guys rockin’ underglow that get arrested for messing around with your lights on, you are making it more difficult for police to decide the lights are okay. Which means more of a chance I’ll get stopped, which I am not a big fan of.
You Do You, Just Be Aware…
If those of us who have a strong appreciation for our auto modifications didn’t try so hard to stretch the laws, there’s a good chance the laws would stay simple and easy on us.
If everyone keeps running around in the middle of the night, blasting the speakerbox like it’s Spring Break and lighting up the night like Vegas, then you can bet one thing:
The laws will change. Not for the better, I might add.
As it stands, underglow lighting laws remain pretty vague in most states, which allows us the freedom to act as we please. If we blatantly disrespect the other human beings around us though, people WILL put their voices together and change the laws.
Sure, you can blast the neighborhood with your own expression of personal freedom, just be aware that it’s not always welcomed.
And more often than not, people are cussing when you disrupt their peace. I know that isn’t the effect I go for with my auto upgrades.
I’m going for cool, not disrespectful.
Ultimately, It’s Your Call
No matter what, it’s still your world, this is your oyster.
You want lights on your rims, by all means, put lights on your rims. I did, and I haven’t regretted it yet. I have had the foresight so far to make sure I’m not running reds or blues, and the cops haven’t stopped me yet for running green.
That’s not to say I don’t keep a close eye on the sides of the road. One of these days, I’m sure I’ll irritate an officer and have to deal with that situation. I just hope that when it happens, he’ll let me know what he expects in his area of town, so I don’t have to make it a recurring issue.
I hope, if nothing else, I have given you pause for a moment, to consider that every action you take has consequences. Even the simple act of enhancing your favorite machine can lead to possible legal issues, if you aren’t aware of the actual laws regarding vehicle modification.
Do yourself a favor… Stay informed.
If you have any questions regarding this article, or you’d just like to put your 2 cents in, feel free to leave a message in the comment section below. I’ll get back to you ASAP! Thank you for your time!