I can still vividly remember being in the back of my mom's red Ford Escort Wagon and turning on the dome light to see something at night. The second I turned it on my mom said "turn that light off or the cops will pull us over."

As a human with a healthy fear of authority, I was quick to oblige. The last thing I wanted was my mom to go to jail because I turned a light on.

It turns out that threat wasn't specific to just me, it was a common thing for parents to tell their kids. My friend shared this meme over the weekend confirming it:

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But is driving with a dome light on in your car actually illegal in Minnesota, or was it just something parents said to make kids behave?

A Google search provided me with a list of state statutes regarding exterior lights on vehicles, and I also found statutes on headlight use. 

The closest answer I could find online was a response from Policy Genius:


Is it illegal to drive with the lights on in your car?


No, contrary to popular belief, it isn’t illegal to drive with your interior lights on. That said, driving with interior lights on can make it hard to see and can lead to accidents.

The article goes on to say "if your parents told you it would be breaking the law to drive with the lights on in the car, you were probably lied to, however not without good reason."

Just like Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny, it seems that the threat of jail time for having a dome light on was just a fable to keep kids behaving. You learn something new every day.

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