High Beam vs Low Beam Symbol: Headlight Sign Explained

You will probably have difficulty driving in foggy weather because of poor visibility. You’ll think your car’s headlights must be doing the situation justice. However, you might need to be aware that there are two ways to control headlights: low-beam settings and high-beam settings.

In most cases, the low beam setting is established by default so that the lights concentrate on the road in clear weather. Driving in rural regions or when you need to see further ahead, you should use low beams. They may also improve how other motorists see you when you’re going.

A low beam is a headlight setting that should illuminate a small area directly ahead of the vehicle.

You might wonder whether your car’s headlights are set to low or high beams. It would help if you inspected your dashboard for an intense beam symbol. Low beams are represented by the letter “D,” with several lines protruding at a slightly downward angle.

This is not to be confused with a similar symbol for high beams! Both may appear identical on the surface, but they serve very different functions in practice.

The Low Beam Symbol

Low beams provide enough light to drive safely at night without blinding oncoming traffic. Low beams are represented by the letter “D,” with numerous lines projecting slightly downward.

When Are Low Beams Used?

Driving in the fog, rain, or heavy snow at night calls for caution; in twilight or otherwise poor visibility conditions, use your low-beam lights. For cutting through these low-visibility situations, downward-directed light is best.

The primary function of low-beam headlights is to protect other road users. As a result, turning on the lights too late or driving with a faulty light is a risk that should never be taken. As a result, high-quality headlamps are essential.

Headlight switch in a modern vehicle.

The High Beam Symbol

The high beam symbol is blue with five horizontal lines stacked vertically to the left of a headlight-like shape. This will activate the dashboard notification that your high beam lights are on. This symbol will also turn off when the high beams are turned off. A high beam is a spotlight that directs brighter light rays to a greater distance on the road.

The light rays are not directed at the nearby highway but are projected parallel to it to look as far away as possible. On the road, you can easily see 100 meters ahead.

When Are High Beams Used?

High-beam headlights are used for greater visibility, especially on dark roads. When driving in foggy conditions, use a high beam frequently. When overtaking another vehicle driving slowly, you must use a high beam so that the other driver is alarmed by your presence. Furthermore, on poorly lit roads, use high beams.

Additionally, a high beam cannot be set for an extended period. It would help if you frequently switch between low and high beams, with high beams predominating. It would help if you used a high beam to see traffic that is a little further away.

The most common situation in which you should use your high-beam headlights is when it is dark. In other words, locations with no streetlights. These locations are typically found on provincial roads or in rural areas. In the dark, using high-beam headlights can help you see animals on the street, potholes, and even crossing pedestrians.

A high beam can also warn pedestrians, allowing them to see you ahead of time and lowering the risk of an accident. Lights from opposing traffic can be seen more easily in low-light conditions.

Headlights of car driving in fog in the field.

When you see an approaching vehicle, switch to low-beam headlights. You will avoid blinding the driver of the approaching vehicle in this manner. If a car in opposing traffic continues to use its high beam, you should not do the same. Instead, use your car’s low-beam headlight settings as good road etiquette.

Retaliation is the last thing you want in this situation because accidents can completely change your life.

Fog Lights

When driving in foggy conditions, fog lights are used. In reality, fog lamps are rarely necessary, though they can provide an extra bit of visibility in terrible weather.

Fog lights are not standard on all vehicles but are frequently available as optional extras on higher trim levels. If your car has them, their symbol is similar to the low beam indicator, with the addition of a vertical line through the diagonal ones.

Parking Lights

Perhaps the least understood lights by drivers are parking lights. They were historically meant to warn other drivers of the presence of the operator’s parked car—in other words; they were only utilized while parked—when they were first devised in an era when street lighting was still relatively uncommon.

Though they can still be utilized for different purposes, their initial use is no longer employed in the present world. The parking light emblem is composed of a horizontally mirrored letter “D” with three lines emanating from it.

Daytime Running Lights

As you may have seen, daytime running lights follow the same naming system as other light modes, which is generally self-explanatory. DRLs are primarily made to be utilized when low beams are not required, which is typical during the day when there is still enough natural light.

DRLs can be utilized on overcast days when visibility may be significantly hampered, even though they aren’t nearly as bright as low beams (by design). The letter “D” in a single color with three rows of dots extending from it serves as the symbol for DRLs.


To function appropriately, headlights need to be in good condition. This is mainly because headlights can operate in many different modes, including low beams, high beams, fog lights, parking lights, and daytime running lights.

Each has legal and practical limitations that determine how they should be used correctly in certain situations. Essentially, each headlamp setting has a specific function.

Thus, every driver must understand how to use them. Take advantage of this knowledge if you’re a novice driver and stay safe on the roads now that you know how each mode functions and how much safer frequent headlamp usage can be!

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About Brock Rangel

Hi, I am Brock, and I am the lead editor/photographer for TheCarColony. I have been a mechanic for over 14 years now, and I am here to spread my car knowledge across the web!

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