Lights and horns

About a third of car crashes occur at night. Pedestrians, bicycle riders and motorcyclists are harder to see than during the day.

Lights and warning devices

At night or when driving in hazardous weather conditions with reduced visibility, your vehicle must have clearly visible:

  • Headlights
  • Tail lights
  • Number plate lights
  • Clearance lights and side marker lights if these are fitted to your vehicle.

Headlights

In many daytime situations driving with your vehicle’s headlights on can improve the likelihood of being seen by other road users. This applies to both country and city driving situations. Your headlights must be on when:

  • Driving between sunset and sunrise
  • At any other time when there is not enough daylight to be able to see a person wearing dark clothing at a distance of 100 metres

High beam

To see further ahead use your headlights on high beam on any road even if there are street lights.

 You must dip your headlights to low beam:

  • When a vehicle coming toward you is within 200 metres (see image).
Two vehicles facing each other approaching a distance of 200m
  • When driving 200 metres or less behind another vehicle (see image).
One vehicle approaching 200m behind another vehicle

When you overtake another vehicle, you may briefly switch to high beam immediately before starting the overtaking manoeuvre.

Avoid lights that may dazzle

Do not use or allow any light fitted to your vehicle to dazzle another road user.

Avoid looking at the headlights of oncoming vehicles. If you are dazzled by glaring or high beam lights, look to the left side of the road and drive to the left of your lane, slow down or pull over until your eyes recover.

Parking lights

Make sure that other road users can see your parked vehicle. Leave your parking or hazard lights on if necessary.

Fog lights

Front and rear fog lights must only be used in fog or rain, or when conditions such as smoke and dust limit your vision. It is a legal requirement that once conditions improve and you can see more clearly, the front and rear fog lights are switched off.

If your vehicle is not fitted with fog lights you may use your headlights during the day in these adverse conditions.

Hazard warning lights

Your vehicle’s hazard warning lights must not be used unless the vehicle is:

  • Stopped and obstructing the path of other vehicles or pedestrians
  • Slow-moving and obstructing other road users
  • Stopped in an emergency stopping lane
  • Stopped to sell a product such as food and refreshment
  • Driving in hazardous weather conditions
  • Fitted with hazard lights as part of an anti-theft or alcohol interlock device.

Horns and other warning devices

You must not use the horn or any other warning device unless:

  • You need to warn other road users that your vehicle is approaching
  • You need to warn animals to get off the road
  • The horn is being used as part of an anti-theft or alcohol interlock device fitted to your vehicle.

Emergency vehicles

Give way when you hear a siren or see the flashing blue or red lights of an emergency vehicle such as Police, Fire Brigade or Ambulance. The siren means to get out of the way so the emergency vehicle has a clear passage through traffic.

Generally, traffic pulls over to the left until the vehicle passes.

See Police and emergency vehicles for more information

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