Car Lights

Are Brake Lights Automatic? [ANSWERED & EXPLAINED]

Are Brake Lights Automatic

If you are the owner of a vehicle, then you are probably well aware that brake lights are an important safety feature.

Not only do they tell other drivers when you are slowing down or stopping, but they also help make your car more visible at night.

Are Brake Lights Automatic

But are brake lights  automatic? Does it automatically light up or are they manually turned on?

This is a question that many people are asking.

If the above raised question interest you then keep reading to find out more about this issue and what it means for your vehicle!

Table of Contents

Are Brake Lights Automatic?

Brake lights in vehicles and motorcycles are automatic because they automatically light up once the brake pedal is pressed down to alert other drivers of your intention to slow down for possible turning left or right and is automatically turned OFF once the brake pedal is released.

The automatic power ON and OFF nature of the brake light save drivers from the hassles of constantly having to turn the lights on and off which they can sometimes forget thus leading to accident.

Can You Drive with a Brake Light Out?

There are a handful of reasons why it is not recommended to drive with one of your brake lights out.

In this section, we will go over the reasons why driving with a brake light out is not recommended.

Required By Law

Perhaps the most obvious reason to not drive with a brake light out is that it’s required by law.

In the United States for example, it is illegal to drive with a brake light out or inoperable.

This means that as a driver, your brake lights should not only be intact, but also working properly. So, if you’re driving with a broken brake light, you could possibly get pulled over by traffic enforcement officer and issued a ticket.

To Maintain Road Safety

Aside from being required by the law, driving with one of your brake lights out is not a good idea for maintaining road safety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that “Brake lights are an essential element of lane changing and stopping at intersections.” You can read more about this law on their website here.

While it may be difficult to see at night, a working brake light on the back end of your car will alert other drivers that you are slowing down or stopping. This alerts them so they can react accordingly and make sure there’s enough room before attempting to pass you.

Now, imagine what the outcome would be if your brake lights were out.

There’s a lot of things that could go wrong if your brake lights don’t work properly when changing lanes or stopping at intersections.

Drivers behind you will literally have no clue that you are slowing down which would increase the chances of them running into you or rear-ending you.

In one of our articles, we discussed in great details the importance and function of brake light. Head over to “Are Tail Lights and Brake Lights the Same Bulb?to get the full details.

What is the Color of Brake Light?

Generally, or in most cases, brake lights are RED in color.

This is probably because of the attention grabbing or catchy nature of red color. Because they are easily noticeable, drivers can immediately see when the brake is applied and response accordingly thus evading possible road accident.

However, some cars may have a different color depending either on the car model or the law of such places.

Can I Drive with a Brake Light ON?

For some obvious reasons, the answer is a ‘NO’. Driving with your brake lights on would be dangerous to other drivers and pedestrians, as they would be confused and misled into thinking that you are slowing down or stopping your car when in the reality, you are increasing in speed.

Because the answer to the question: are brake lights automatic is a ‘yes’, it would result in confusion if the break lights were to be ON all the time.

This confusion can result in a ghastly road accident that would leave a lot of people injured.

Driving with your brake lights on could be a sign of car malfunctioning which can be illegal, and the driver may incur a fine upon inspection from the police. It is better to avoid any potential problems by following proper car maintenance procedures such as keeping an eye on your car lights (brake, tail and pointer lights) and replacing dead ones in order to ensure that your car is road worthy.

Can I Change a Brake Light Myself?

When it comes to changing a brake light, the major question that needs to be precisely answered is: can I get the old one out without breaking anything else?

A ‘YES‘ to the above question will depend on whether or not you have the skills and knowledge necessary for such task. If you do, then it is safe to proceed with replacing the bad light with a new one.

If you discover that you don’t have the requisite skills and knowledge, it is advisable to seek a professional for assistance. This will not only save you valuable time, but also money that would have spent on buying and replacing parts that were broken while attempting to change the light.

Are Brake Lights Automatic?


To recap, our response to the question: are brake lights automatic is a ‘yes’.

Brake lights are a safety feature for both motorists and pedestrians.

They automatically light up when the brake pedal is pressed down to alert other drivers of your intention to slow down, which could be because you’re turning left or right at an intersection.

The brake light will turn off once the driver releases their foot from the brake pedal. This automatic process can help make good habits such as being attentive while driving safe!