When To Use Your Main Beam Headlights

When To Use Your Main Beam Headlights

In the right circumstances, main beam headlights (also known as high beam headlights) can make driving safer for everyone on the road. But when used incorrectly, main beam headlights can be a major safety hazard. Knowing how and when you use your main beams is crucial for every driver.

What are main beam headlights?

Main beam headlights give you the option to make your headlights brighter. They're sometimes called high beam headlights, and your standard headlights are called dipped beam or low beam. Most vehicles main beam is controlled by the left stalk which also controls the indicators. 

In some cars, main beams use a separate bulb from low beam headlights. Other bulbs contain two filaments in the same bulb: one for the main beam and the other for the low beam.

When your main beams are on, you'll notice immediately that your headlights are brighter. They may also illuminate a larger area, allowing you to see more of the road ahead. This is extremely useful in some situations.

Other names for main beams

There are many alternative names for main beam, here's a list of the most popular:


Full Beam

High Beam



When to use your main beam

High beam headlights are ideal when driving at night in a poorly-lit area. Your low beams are usually bright enough in the city, where there are plenty of streetlights, but may not be sufficient on country roads. Without streetlights, it can be difficult to see far enough ahead to avoid obstacles like pedestrians, bumps in the road, or wild animals.

You can also use main beams on empty roads simply to see better. As long as there are no other cars around, it usually doesn't hurt to turn on your main beams. Just remember to turn them off if another vehicle is coming towards you or overtakes you.

When not to use your main beam

Although main beams can help drivers on the open road at night, there are times when using your main beams is unsafe. Any time you're around other cars, it's generally a bad idea to turn them on.

Main beams are so much brighter than low beam (dipped beam) and so have the potential to dazzle other drivers. When passing, or driving behind another driver, always turn off your main beam to avoid blinding others on the road.

Low beam (dipped) headlights point towards the ground - hence, the name. They're designed this way so that they illuminate the road without shining in the eyes of other drivers. Main beams, however, point straight ahead. This allows you to see farther ahead, but it means that main beams can blind oncoming traffic. The light can also reflect off other drivers' rear view mirrors and blind them.

Using main beam headlights isn't a good idea in the snow, rain, or fog either. The light from your headlights reflects off the moisture in the air and actually makes it harder to see. Even low beams can be dangerous in the fog - that's why your vehicle has fog lights.


Main beam bulbs come in mamy different fitments, colours and brightness depending on your driving style. PowerBulbs stock the largest range of bulbs, all available to be shipped worldwide from our UK warehouse. PowerBulbs is an approved partner with OSRAM and Philips Automotive Lighting, guarnteeing you quality products. You can read more about the difference between main beam and dipped beams here.

Shop Halogen Headlight Bulbs here.

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