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You are on a motorway at night. You MUST have your headlights switched on unless

A your vehicle is broken down on the hard shoulder

Always use your headlights at night on a motorway unless you have stopped on the hard shoulder. If you break down and have to stop on the hard shoulder, switch off the headlights but leave the sidelights on so that other road users can see your vehicle.

Related Information

Driving in the dark - tips on how to stay safe

Use your lights appropriately

It's prohibited to drive at night without properly functional front and back lights, so make sure they're all in good condition on a regular basis. If you discover that a bulb has to be replaced, do so as quickly as possible to prevent getting stopped by the police. The manner you use your lighting is also very essential. To make sure you're always clearly visible to other road users, turn on dipped headlights around an hour before dusk and leave them on for an hour after sunrise. On unlit country roads, use your full beam to ensure you see the road layout more clearly, but if you come across another vehicle, go back to dipped beam immediately so you don't dazzle them.

Don’t stare at oncoming vehicles

Never look straight at the headlights of other vehicles to avoid becoming dazzled. The light might briefly affect your eyesight, increasing your chances of panicking and losing your bearings. Look to the left side of the road and, if there is one, follow the white line indicating the edge to keep track of your position. If the glare is so strong that you can't see anything, slow down but don't stop suddenly because you don't want a car coming up behind you to collide with you.

Keep windows clean

Condensation on the inside of your windows and dirt on the outside can also reduce vision, so take the time to clean them before you leave. Windscreens are especially prone to condensation on the inside, especially in cold weather, and car heaters can push dirty air at the glass, causing a hazy film to form on the inside. This might increase glare from approaching headlights.

Watch out for children, cyclists and animals

At this time of year, vulnerable road users such as children, the elderly, and bikers are especially vulnerable. Drive with extra caution around schools and in residential areas so you have time to respond if someone steps out in front of you. Remember, it's Halloween week, so many kids will be dressed up in dark costumes and hanging around in dimly lit spots, making them even less visible to drivers. Cyclists can also be difficult to see after dark, particularly if they are not wearing reflective clothing. Animals darting out in front of you should also be avoided, especially on country roads where nocturnal animals are active.


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