Modifications may seem like a fun way to personalize your car or truck, but they can also compromise safety. Some modifications are even illegal in certain states. Knowing which are the most dangerous can help you stay safe on the roadways and prevent unwanted attention from law enforcement officials. Avoid these unsafe aftermarket modifications at all costs:
- Sound modifications. In Texas, the state doesn’t have a law against sound levels of exhaust or stereos, but local government offices might. If you are pulled over for excessive noise, chances are good an officer is not going to measure the decibel level of your exhaust or stereo. You may get a citation or warning anyway. Not only may sound modifications be illegal – they can present a serious hazard on the roadways. Loud vehicle sounds can prevent drivers from hearing sirens or noticing other hazardous road conditions, which may contribute to an accident. Keep your vehicle safe and legal by avoiding loud stereo modifications and exhausts.
- Raised or lowered vehicles. Texas law regulates parameters for head lamps, tail lamps, and reflectors, because altered vehicles can present a safety hazard. No vehicle can be higher than 14 feet. Head lamps can’t be higher than 54 inches or lower than 24 inches from the center of the lamp to the ground. Tail lamps can’t be higher than 72 inches or lower than 15 inches. Reflectors can’t be higher than 60 inches or lower than 15 inches. Any raising or lowering modification that does not meet those requirements is unsafe and illegal to drive on the highways. Raised vehicles, while improving your line of sight in the front, may also create blind spots. They are also at a higher risk for rollover accidents and injuries. Lowered vehicles may have such a low clearance. Potholes, debris, or other roadway hazards can lead to an accident.
- Electric modifications. DIY modifications to the electrical circuits can be a fire or accident hazard. One common and dangerous mistake involves attaching a wire straight through the dash without using a rubber grommet for protection. Any modification that is not carefully installed can become more of a hazard on the roadway, even if the modification is technically legal.
- Lighting modifications. All lights used in vehicles in Texas need to be approved by the DOT. No modifications that make the lighting less effective are allowed, since they pose a safety threat. Inadequate lighting is not only for a driver’s ability to see at night, but also for other drivers to see and avoid cars on the road. Blackout lighting and other modifications that interfere with the traditional functioning of head and tail lights increase the risk of accident and injury.
- Window tinting. All front side windows and windshields need to have a light transmission of 25% or higher to be considered legal. Limousines and other professional vehicles may not be subject to these regulations. Window tinting may not seem like a dangerous modification, but any tinting that prevents a driver from seeing the roadways clearly becomes a roadway hazard and may contribute to an accident.
While state and local laws may govern which modifications you ultimately choose for a vehicle, consider how a modification will affect your ability to drive. Any modification that becomes a distraction to you or other drivers on the road can be a dangerous and contributing factor to an accident.
Always reach out to a professional for advice before investing in a modification that may not be legal or safe. If you have been injured in an accident and suspect another driver had an illegal or unsafe modification on his or her vehicle, contact the Dallas car accident attorney at The Benton Law Firm for a free initial consultation today.