When conditions change
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 you are approaching a police officer who is directing traffic
- when parked.
Dipping headlights for an oncoming 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.
- in an area without street lighting, use full beam as appropriate to
increase your range of visibility.
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 road marker post Right side of road marker post
indicating left-hand bend
Left side of bridge Right side of bridge
Left side of road Centre line
No passing Fire hydrant
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: 23 February 2015