Rhode Island Neon Underglow Light Laws

Underglow refers to the neon tubes mounted at the bottom of a car under the chassis. Even though these are relatively safe and easily available, there are laws that dictate how you can and cannot use them.

This has a lot to do with them being an unnecessary distraction for other drivers. Especially if your lights flash, glow, blink, or oscillate, they can be quite a hindrance.

Which brings us to the question: Is underglow legal in Rhode Island? The answer is a bit more complicated than yes or no. Read on to find out.

Rhode Island Laws for Underglow Lights

Civic Type-R with magenta underglow lights

Underglow lights are mostly legal in Rhode Island, so long as you don’t use certain colors. The laws on the usage of underglow lights are governed by Rhode Island General Laws under Title 31: Motor and Other Vehicles.

Chapter 31-23: Lighting Equipment and Reflectors is dedicated to this subject and details everything that’s legal and prohibited.

In general, red and blue lights are prohibited because only police vehicles, ambulances, trucks, and school buses can use these colors. Using these lights on your car when it is not an authorized vehicle is a punishable offense.

If your car has lights that change color, try to avoid using red and blue in the front and rear. It is best to have them concealed and not flashing in the center where it is visible on highways and freeways.

  • Light type: There is no restriction on the type of additional lighting that you can use on your car, be it neon underglow or LED. The only restriction is that the lights must not flash, oscillate, or blink.
  • Size: There are no restrictions on the size of the lights that you can use, but make sure the size is within reason and falls under the stipulated light intensity.
  • Permitted colors: Your license plate needs to be illuminated in white. Cars must strictly not have red or blue lights. These colors are reserved only for emergency and authorized vehicles. Red lights are specifically prohibited in front of the car and white on the rear as it can be very disorienting for other drivers.
  • Intensity: It is permitted to use flashing lights only when signaling a turn or to indicate a traffic hazard. Try to use stable lights that don’t scatter too much on the streets. It is ideal to opt for lights that have standard intensity and aren’t over 300 candlepower.

There is no law restricting the use of neon underglow lights while driving in Rhode Island. However, the state is very strict with what colors they allow.

Furthermore, keep your registration plate clearly visible at all times. A separate light or white light in your taillight must illuminate them for easy visibility. If your underglow lights obstruct their visibility, that is an offense in itself.

You are good to go if your lights don’t flash and oscillate. It is also a good idea to get lights that don’t scatter too much and distract other drivers while driving.

Despite all these regulations being defined, you will never know what rules apply to your neighborhood unless you speak to a local authority. Be sure to ask what rules apply to your locality to stay within the law.

State of Rhode Island Info

Flag of Rhode Island

Officially known as the State of Rhode Island, Rhode Island is located in the New England region and is the smallest state in the US in terms of area.

Also popularly known by its nickname, “The Ocean State”, Rhode Island has many bays and inlets that comprise around 14% of its area.

The state is situated along the beautiful Atlantic Ocean coast. Only around 48 miles long and around 36 miles wide, with its stunning beaches, national parks, history, art and culture, is a popular tourist destination.

Population: 1.09 million
Capital: Providence
Registered vehicles: 866,625
Total lane miles: 12,664
Number of highways: 8

Wikipedia | State Website

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