Guess The Fuck What, Turns Out Driving With Your Light On In The Car Isn’t Illegal

Holy shit, you guys. When it comes to things I have just blindly believed my entire life, this is really up there. It turns out that, contrary to my own belief based on what my Mum told me, it is not illegal to drive with the light on inside the car.

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I don’t know about you, but when I was a surly teenager who read at all hours of the day and night, I was repeatedly reprimanded for putting on the interior light in the car to binge Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows.

“You can’t read in the car because it’s illegal to have the light on,” Mum would tell me, flicking it off while I resorted to my iPod and staring out the window emotionally while listening to So Fresh, only the sad songs.

At the very least, a bunch of US folks know this experience – so many, in fact, that Buzzfeed wrote an entire article debunking the myth that you can’t legally drive with the interior car light on.

But I had to know if the same was true for Australia. After all, NSW is known as the Nanny State. We can’t bloody do anything here! Surely it’s illegal Down Under.

NOPE. came through with the goods, stating it’s absolutely not in legislation that you can’t drive with the interior car light on.

BUT – there are different stages of having the car lights on that CAN get you booked. According to CarsGuide, the “map lights”, which they call small circular lights but I’m thinking they mean the ones near the flippy-downy thing (sun visor???) that aren’t as bright, don’t light up the interior of the car as much.

The big light in the middle though – the one that goes on if a door is open – can give bounce-back on the windshield, meaning your vision is more obscured. This can lead to violations of road laws, depending on the po-po.

If a police officer sees you driving along lit up like Sydney Harbour on New Year’s Eve, they could potentially fine you a few different ways. The way the Australian road laws are written a policeman (or woman) has the power to fine you if they believe you are not in full control of your vehicle, or are driving in a manner they believe to be dangerous to other road users.

Basically, you can get booked for distracted driving, or driving with your vision impaired or obscured, and this all depends on the cop who sees you driving and their judgement call.

In short, it’s not really safe – especially if you find you can’t see out the windshield very well. So don’t do it if you can. But no, popping it on at the lights to see if that was a giant spider that just ran across your lap is fine.