About driving

When conditions change

Night driving

When to use headlights

You must turn on your vehicle's headlights:

  • from 30 minutes after sunset on one day, until 30 minutes before sunrise on the next day
  • at any other time when you can't clearly see a person or vehicle 100 metres away.

Never drive with just the park lights on. (Note: park lights are now referred to as position lights.)

When to dip your vehicle's headlights

You must dip your vehicle's headlights:

  • when other vehicles are coming towards you, so that you don't blind the oncoming driver
  • when you are following other vehicles
  • when a police officer is directing traffic
  • when you park.
Dipping headlights for an oncoming vehicle

Dipping headlights for an oncoming vehicle


Dipping headlights when following a vehicle

Dipping headlights when following another vehicle

If there is plenty of street light, you should be able to drive with your headlights dipped the whole time.

Speed at night

At night, just as during the daytime, you must drive at a safe speed. This means that:

  • on a road with lanes, you must be able to stop in the length of clear road you can see in front of you
  • on a road with no lanes, you must be able to stop in half the length of clear road you can see in front of you.

Safety tips for night driving

Driving at night is more dangerous than driving during the day. To improve your safety on the road at night:

  • make sure your windscreen and lights are clean
  • never wear dark glasses
  • watch for pedestrians and cyclists – they are harder to see at night
  • stop and rest if you are sleepy
  • don't blind other drivers with your vehicle's headlights – dip them when vehicles are coming towards you or when you are following another vehicle
  • if you are blinded by the lights of oncoming vehicles:
    • slow down or stop
    • try to keep your eyes on the left side of the road, so you're not looking directly at the light
  • drive at a speed that means you can see the road at least two seconds ahead.
Picture of car driving at night

Driving at night

Use markers to guide you when driving at night

Many roads have reflectors and guide posts to help you 'read' the road at night. Some examples of these are shown below.

Left side of the road marker post Right side of the road marker post

Left side of road marker post      Right side of road marker post
                                                 indicating left-hand bend


Left side of bridge marker Right side of bridge marker

Left side of bridge      Right side of bridge


Left side of the road reflector Centre line reflector

Left side of road          Centre line


No passing reflector Fire hydrant reflector

No passing          Fire hydrant


Important

Be aware that at night, because most road signs are highly reflective, your lights shining on them may make you think you can clearly see further than you really can. Make sure you drive more slowly and carefully at night, particularly on unfamiliar roads.

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Last updated: 27 September 2012