Driver With Suspended License Stopped With Flashlights Replacing Busted Headlights

Do you know the number of lumens your car’s headlight bulbs are supposed to be putting out? Do any of us? Probably not, unless you’re employed as a clerk at an auto parts store, or you’re a lighting expert. So, let’s not blame this individual in Washington State who fixed their busted-ass headlights by replacing them with flashlights for trying. He had lights!


It was early morning this past Monday when a Washington State Patrol car traveling down I-90 just outside of North Bend came across a vehicle in oncoming traffic with suspiciously dim headlights. It must have been early enough to still be dark out — sunrise in the area currently seems to occur around 7 a.m. PST. You’ll note it’s rather obviously wet on the ground in the photos as if it had been raining, which just makes this all seem even more ill-advised.

Here’s what the officer came across, as reported by Washington State Patrol Officer Rick Johnson to CNN:

Upon inspection, the officer realized that the headlights on the car had been replaced by flashlights, which is illegal in the state as it does not meet the lumen requirements, Johnson said.

The car appears to have noticeable damage to the front of the car and the headlights seem to have fallen or broken off. The lights were running out of power, and the motorist was driving on a suspended license, according to Johnson.

“I don’t know of any car manufacturer that duct tapes flashlights to the front of their cars upon sale,” Johnson said. “But you know, I guess this is 2020, right?”

If it wasn’t for those meddling State Patrolmen and their lumen-licking laws!


On the right side of the Chevy, there are two mounted flashlights — one larger, which matches the left side of the car, and one smaller light underneath. Additionally, whether or not it’s on purpose, one of the flashlights is clearly pointed more toward the ground, while the other large flashlight is pointed higher up — effectively creating both a high and low beam. At least, if the lights were any good.

I really don’t want to clown on this driver too much for at least trying, but I will never recommend replacing headlights with flashlights if you can help it. I also don’t recommend driving with a suspended license. But at the same time, I’m not in this person’s business. I don’t know what’s going on. They solved a problem. I know you don’t end up driving a car like this because you have a bunch of better options. For the most part, though, I’m wondering what on earth this thing hit that busted both headlights and the grille without rendering the car inoperable? Any ideas?


Reviews Editor, Jalopnik



I can’t even say anything bad about this person. All I see is a really sad statement on what it’s like to be poor in America, trying to get by, and sinking deeper and deeper as each problem leads to another problem.

I hope things get better for them.