When to use your headlights

You must turn on your vehicle's headlights:

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

When to dip your vehicle’s headlight

You must dip your vehicle’s headlight:

  • when other vehicles are coming towards you, so you don’t blind the oncoming driver
  • when following other vehicles
  • when approaching an enforcement officer who is directing traffic
  • when parked.
Two motorcycles heading towards each other at night with their headlights dipped.

Dipping the headlight for an oncoming vehicle

A motorcycle is following another motorcycle at night. Both motorcycles have their headlights dipped.

Dipping the headlight when following another vehicle

At other times, use your high beam so you can see further.

Speed at night

You must ride 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.

Wear the right gear

It’s important to wear clothing and equipment that help you be seen at night.

It's a good idea to wear reflective clothing or put reflective tape on your clothing.

It’s also a good idea to have reflectors and/or reflective tape on the side of your motorcycle.

Wearing the right gear

Rear view of a motorcycle and rider riding along the road at night. The rider is wearing a reflective vest.

Wearing reflective vest

Safety tips for night riding

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

  • make sure your visor and the motorcycle’s lights are clean
  • never wear dark or tinted glasses, visors or goggles
  • 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 headlight – dip it when vehicles are coming towards you or when following another vehicle
  • if you're 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
  • ride at a speed where you can see the road at least two seconds ahead
  • use the lights of the vehicle ahead – tail lights bouncing up and down can alert you to bumps or rough patches.


Wearing a scratched face-shield is dangerous, especially at night or when it's wet. It'll pick up reflective glare from oncoming vehicles. Replace a scratched face-shield immediately.

Use markers to guide you when riding at night

Many roads have reflectors and guide posts to help you read the road at night. Here are some examples of these.

Thin white rectangular post with a red reflector about one fifth down the post and a thin white reflective strip in the centre of the top half.

Left side of the road marker post

Thin white retangular post with thin yellow strip in the middle of the top half and covered by a red reflective rectangle about one fifth of the way down.

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

This post with black and white right sloping diagonal stripes

Left side of bridge

Right side of bridge

Left side of road

A white reflector, also known as a cat's eye.

Centre line

A yellow reflector, also known as a cat's eye.

No passing

A blue reflector, also known as a cat's eye.

Fire hydrant


Most road signs are highly reflective, your light shining on them at night may make you can see further than you really can. Make sure you ride more slowly and carefully at night, particularly on unfamiliar roads.