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Nobody wants to drive without brake lights. Not only can it be dangerous, but it can also get you pulled over by the police.

This isn’t usually a problem if you have someone else with you who can stand behind your car and check as you press the brake pedal, but when you’re on your own, it can prove more difficult.

There are three straightforward methods you can use when you’re by yourself, and we’ll explore them here

  • Reverse close to a wall or window
  • Put a heavy object onto the brake pedal
  • Use your cell phone to capture a video

Here we look at each method in a little more detail.

Reverse Close To A Window

This is the simplest solution and one that most people can do on their drive or mall car park. Reverse up to a window and press the brake pedal. Look behind either by turning your head or by using the car mirrors to see if the brake lights have come on. 

You may have to reverse your car real close to your house or to a store window during the day to get this to work. At night though, the brake lights should shine very bright and be very obvious if they are working. Brake lights should be visible for 1000 feet! 

Heavy Object On The Brake Pedal

Look around inside your car for something heavy. You could use a car jack from the trunk nor a tire iron. If not, look for a rock or brick, anything with some weight to it. 

When you’ve got something heavy and with the car switched off – place it on the brake pedal and walk to the back of your car. It’s important to have the engine off as if the heavy object slips off and hits the gas pedal; it’ll start revving really high and can startle other people walking around in the area. Embarrassing!

Use Your Cell Phones Video Feature

This wouldn’t be on the list twenty years ago, but it works really well. It does have its drawbacks, though. You can’t really use this method if you are parked on the road or where there are many people you don’t know.

If you’re parked at home, though, you can position your phone on top of something at the same height as your brake lights and press the record button. 

Go back to your car and press on the brake pedal before going back to your cell phone and checking the recording.

Hopefully, you’ll see that they are working just fine, and you can carry on driving.

Is The Brake Light And Tail Light The Same Bulb?

It’s possible but not normal. More common is that both the brake light bulb and the tail light bulb are in the same cluster and share the same lens. This gives the appearance of being one and the same. It would also have safety problems if one bulb were responsible for both the braking and night lighting functions.

Sometimes, one bulb has two separate filaments within it, and both operate independently of each other. This is quite common with car headlights, where one bulb filament works both high and low beams.

Are all Three Brake Lights Required to Work?

Yes, even if you have two brake lights on each side working fine, the higher center one also needs to work too. 

If one bulb isn’t working, the police have a right to pull you over to issue a fix-it ticket in most states. 

Once they have pulled you over and have probable cause from speaking to you or seeing something else wrong with your car, other traffic offenses may be noticed.

It’s never a good idea to drive with a brake light out.

In Conclusion

It’s pretty easy to check your brake lights even if you’re on your own. The simplest – especially if the weather’s bad and you don’t fancy leaving the car- is to reverse up to a window and press the brake pedal.

After that, either put something heavy on the brake pedal or video the rear of your car with your cell phone.

Another option would be to ask a neighbor -by knocking on their door – or stop a stranger in the street to see if they can help you out.

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