Good Driver Foot Control Hand Control The Driving Mirror
Beginning to Drive Corner & Junctions Emerging at Junctions Manceovring
  Making Things a Little Easier Good Driving Tips

Good Driver

Driving at Nights :

Even in perfect weather and with good headlights properly adjusted, you cannot see as far or as much at night as you can in daylight. Night driving is not as simple as driving in daylight. The night-time need is therefore a far more alertness and a realization that you cannot safely drive as fast as you would during the day.


Do not drive in dark, if your vision does not permit you to do so.
If you have left a brightly lit building, give your eyes time to adapt to the dark environment, before you start driving.
Check for your headlights, dippers, indicators and all illuminating devices for proper working while driving at night.
Check for the proper working of the controls.
Never dazzle the approaching drivers. Dip lights when you find a vehicle approaching in the opposite direction.
  Remember, night driving doesn't mean only driving in the night. It includes the periods of dusk and dawn and even the cloudy climates, which seem more or less like the dark night.

Driving in Bad Weather :
  The weather conditions for driving may not be favourable at all times. In case of a bad weather, try to avoid driving. If you must drive, take particular care:

Check that your windscreen, wiper and washers are working properly as you may have to use them at any time.
Take all the precautionary measures required to face the adverse weather conditions such as a rain coat or umbrella for a rainy day, a woolen sweater or jacket for chilly weather.
Drive at lower speeds so that you will be able to stop within the visible road distance, in case an emergency shoots up
On wet roads, the sudden braking may slide the vehicle to right or left depending upon the camber or the road surface. In case you lose control due to skid, steer the vehicle quickly and smoothly towards the direction of skid. Keep yourself ready to face any such unexpected events.
In case of foggy weather, use anti-misting agents to keep your view clear.
Under any conditions, drive only with the headlights on.

Dealing with Hills :

When a vehicle is being driven uphill the engine not only has to drive it along the road, but also lift its weight as well. Going downhill, the weight of the vehicle helps the engine to drive it along. In each case, the effect of the controls is different from what it is on the level. It is useful to look at the main differences and see how they affect your driving.

Going uphill  (as compared with driving on level roads) :

It is harder for the engine to make the car go faster
The brakes slow the car down sooner.

If you reduce pressure on the accelerator, or if you declutch, your speed will drop much quicker than it would on the level. A change down may then become necessary and this must be done briskly so as not to lose too much speed.

When stopping, you can brake later and declutch later, but you must use the handbrake sooner to avoid rolling back.

Going downhill  (as compared with driving on level roads) :

Generally, it is harder to slow down and the brakes have less effect.

It is harder for the engine to slow the car down and in the higher gears, it will not do so at all.

If you declutch, the car will run faster.

Gear changes are more difficult and it is therefore important to be in the right gear before you begin to go downhill.


When it comes to dealing with hills in the ordinary course of driving remember the following points:

Going up :

Look for signs:

The warning sign for an ascent/descent will tell you how the slope is. Ascent is a uphill and the descent is a downhill road.

Assess the hill:

Weigh up a hill as you would a junction and change down in good time if a change is necessary. If you cannot see much of the hill because the road turns, change before the turn because climbing and turning at the same time mean harder work for your engine. Also traffic tends to slow down on hills, especially at turns.


Don't try to hang on to a high gear in an attempt to keep up your speed. You car will climb better in a lower gear.

Separation Distance:

Keep well back from the vehicle in front. If you get close and the driver ahead slows down for some reason, you may have to make a sudden stop. Holding back may enable you to keep going gently, while he regains speed. This is not only safe but it can also help to avoid congestion.


Overtaking uphill is usually difficult. But where you are in mixed traffic on a straight upward gradient, perhaps on a dual carriageway, you might be able to overtake. But keep a look-out for others, who are able to overtake easily and don't balk them. One of the biggest dangers about overtaking on a hill (except - a dual carriageway) is that the traffic oncoming towards you downhill is nearly always going much faster than you are and is much less able to slow down or stop quickly.

Going down:

Look for signs: The steep hill (downwards) sign is a warning you must respect.

Assess the hill:

Do this as soon as you can, the sign will help. If you don't know the road, or conditions make it difficult to see, change down one gear right away and be ready for another change down if necessary before you begin the hill (As with climbing, don't delay your gear changes).

Speed :

You will usually have to reduce speed to that of traffic ahead of you. Using your lower gears will help with this by giving you more braking power and control. The steeper the hill, the lower the gear.

Separation Distances:

Leaving a good gap is important because if you follow too closely and the vehicle ahead slows down you will have to brake very hard and the driver behind you will get very little warning. A good gap gives you time to slow down more gently.


Overtaking downhill is safe only where there are no bends or junctions, where the visibility is good and you are certain that oncoming traffic will not be inconvenienced or endangered. Remember that just as you could not slow down easily, traffic coming uphill would have some difficulty in getting out of your way.

Junctions on hills :

When you leave a hilly road at a junction, or turn from a level road on to a hill, up or down, all the points mentioned so far become very much more important. Hills are not easy on car or driver and there are a great many driving operations to fit in when you go through a junction. Extra anticipation and considerable care are needed.

Downhill Junctions :

When you are going downhill towards a junction, getting into the right position at the right speed needs the early use of mirror, signals, brakes, gears and steering. Remember the junction routine position - speed - look. Oncoming drivers will be climbing and while their speeds may be easier to judge, you must be particularly careful not to balk them. If you are turning, don't move from your turn look position unless, you are sure that you can complete the turn without blocking the oncoming traffic and causing a hold-up.

Uphill Junctions :

Again, it is important to judge your position and speed accurately and to make correct use of mirror, signals, brakes, gears and steering. Your position will be particularly important to following drivers, especially, if you are going to make a right turn. You cannot stop in a wrong position and force them to stop unnecessarily.

Joining a hill at a Junction :

It is usually quite easy to turn left at a T-junction into a road, which runs uphill from the right. You can judge the speed of cars coming up the hill reasonably easily and you don't have to cross any traffic stream. But if you are turning right and the road turns uphill from the left, you will find this much more difficult. Here you have to cross the traffic coming downhill from the right, probably quite fast and at the same time fit into the flow of vehicles going uphill from the left without balking them.

Hills in town :


What we have said so far applies to all hills, whether in town or country. But it is useful to look at some of the special conditions of hills in towns. First of all, there will be more pedestrians about. Traffic speeds will be lower and vehicles closer together, making visibility poorer.

Traffic lights, school crossing patrols and pedestrian crossings will stop traffic on hills regularly. This adds to the importance of using your mirror, recognising the sort of and leaving a suitable gap from vehicle ahead of you, using your hand brake more than usual and keeping in the right gear for the situation. You will be doing most of these things in towns anyway, but on hills, they are all 'musts'.

Starting on a hill :
  Uphill :  Apart from the need to co-ordinate the use of accelerator, clutch and handbrake, there are two other points that are worth mentioning here.

First, because you must avoid balking traffic climbing the hill, you must apply the MSM routine carefully and without undue haste.

Second, you must allow for the fact that your car will be slower in pulling away, so you will need a larger gap in the traffic if you are to fit in safely.


Downhill :  This is a simpler operation, because the weight of the car helps you to move away. But you must be careful to use the right gear for the slope of the hill to keep the car under full control. Remember, that drivers coming downhill from behind you will find it less easy to slow down, so be sure that the gap is large enough before you move off.

Braking downhill :

Don't rely on your brakes as the chief means of controlling your speed when going downhill, as overworked brakes get hot and may 'fade'. Your chief means of controlling speed downhill should be the use of a lower gear; your footbrake will only serve as an addition to your engine braking power in low gear. Get into a lower gear in good time and then slow the engine by braking the car with the footbrake. Because braking is best avoided on curves, use an even lower gear on a winding hill than you would on a straight one. You must do this before you begin to go downhill.

Parking on hills :

It is far better not to leave your car standing on a slope. But if you can't avoid it, here are some points to remember.

Parking uphill :


Stop as close as you can to the nearside kerb and leave your steering wheel turned to the right. In case of brake failure, the front wheel coming against the kerb will stop it. If there is no kerb, turn the steering wheel to the left. Then, at least, the car will not run back across the road. Leave the car in first gear with the handbrake firmly applied.

Parking downhill :

Turn the steering wheel to the left, so that the kerb will check any forward movement of the car. Leave the car in reverse gear and apply the handbrake firmly.

Parking with automatic transmission:

Whether facing uphill or downhill, make sure the handbrake is on firmly before using the selector setting 'P' (park). This avoids risk of a locked transmission. If your car has no 'P' setting, turn your front wheels to the kerb and apply your handbrake firmly.

Leaving a gap:

Moving in or out of a parking space is more difficult on a slope than on the flat and tends to take more room. So leave a bigger gap, it will help you and others.

A final word:

Whether for power to climb a hill, or for braking to control speed downhill, it is always important to get into the right gear in good time. There are more details about parking in the next chapter.

Summary :

The difference between driving on the level and uphill or downhill.
Judging the hill; changing gear early; leaving a good space behind the vehicle in front. The dangers of overtaking on hills
Junctions on hills; the particular importance of the position - speed - look routine; judging the speed of vehicles on the road you are joining
Special problems of hills in towns; the need to use the hand brake more
Starting on a hill; the importance of the mirror - signal - manoeuvre routine; Picking the right gap to fit into
Braking downhill; the use of lower gears; using the foot-brake for assistance; braking on winding hills
Parking on hills; turning the front wheels to the kerb; leaving the car in gear; the necessity for leaving a larger space. Cars with automatic gears

Highway Driving :

There are no ordinary junctions, sharp bends, roundabouts, steep hills or traffic lights on highways. Traffic is less mixed than on other roads and the slowest vehicles are excluded. Traffic can therefore safely travel faster over longer distances, but this makes lane discipline even more important than on ordinary roads.

The driver on a highway :
  As with driving on any road, you need to be fit. It is particularly unwise to go on to a highway if you are at all below par. This is not only because alertness is so important for highway driving, but because parking is prohibited and if you need to rest, you may have to go quite a long way before you get to an exit point or a service area where you can stop.

The higher speeds on highways mean that you need more time for almost every driving action. In other words, you need to give yourself bigger margins than on ordinary roads; bigger margins of roadworthiness and of space between your car and the one in front. This chapter describes why these bigger margins are so important.


We discussed in earlier chapters about stopping distance and how this was made up of thinking distance plus braking distance. When driving on highways, it is essential to know and be able to judge your stopping distance at various speeds, because stopping distances get much longer the faster you go. So let's have another look at thinking, braking and stopping distances at speeds from 50 kmph upwards, in good conditions on a dry road and when conditions are not so good.

Stopping distances - in good conditions
When driving at (kmph) 50 65 80 95 110
Your speed will be (mtrs/sec.) 14 18 22 26 30
Your thinking distance will be about (mtrs.) 09 12 15 18 21
Your braking distance will be about (mtrs.) 14 24 38 55 75
Your stopping distance will be about (mtrs.) 23 36 53 73 96


Stopping distances - in poor conditions
When driving at (kmph) 50 65 80 95 110
You should allow about (mtrs.) 46 73 107 146 192


Your vehicle on a highway :

Before using a highway, make quite sure that your vehicle is in good order, especially the tyres. Instruments and warning lights are important too, because higher speeds over long distances increase the risk of mechanical failure. Check that you have plenty of petrol, oil and water. Highway speeds use them up faster and to run out of any of them can be dangerous, inconvenient and costly. Don't flog your car. Choose a steady speed (within the speed limits) which suits you and your vehicle and the weather conditions.

   Fig. 20: Thinking & Braking Distances  

Getting on to a highway :

Highways usually start at a roundabout, unless a main road becomes a highway. Elsewhere you will get on to them by a slip road which leads into an acceleration lane. This lane is an extra piece of road from which you can see, and adjust to, the highway traffic and its speed before you become part of it. You must give way to traffic already on the highway, taking your place only when there is a suitable gap in the left-hand lane. Once you have joined the highway stay in the left-hand lane until you have had time to judge and get used to the speeds at which the traffic is moving.

Seeing on a highway :

Don't put unnecessary difficulties in the way of being able to see properly. Start out with clean mirrors, screen and windows. Use the washers, wipers and demisters freely whenever necessary. Keep your eyes moving so that, you can see things clearly. Use your mirror even sooner than you would on an ordinary road and check it more often, because the higher highway speeds are more difficult to judge and situations develop very quickly. Any increase in the number of vehicles you can see ahead may mean that traffic is slowing down for some reason - a warning to you to reduce speed until you are sure just what is happening.

Being seen on a highway :

Your car is often visible to other drivers on a highway much earlier than it would be on an ordinary road. It needs to be, because of the higher speeds. If the daylight is at all poor, use your side and rear lights at least. If it is hazy or misty in daytime, use your headlights.

Ventilation :

Driving on a highway can get monotonous and cause drowsiness. Avoid this by making full use of whatever ventilation system you have. Keep the car warm but well aired. If you still feel drowsy keep a window open until you can get to a service area. There, open all the windows. Better still, get out into the air for a while.

Spacing :

A gap of at least one yard for each m.p.h of your speed is an absolute minimum. If the road is wet or icy, the gap should be much longer. In the worst weather conditions, you could need up to ten times the stopping distance that you do for a dry road.

Headlamp flashing :

The higher noise level on highways, particularly in wet weather, may prevent other drivers from hearing your horn. Flashing your headlamps is usually a better warning when one is necessary. By the same token, be alert for such a warning yourself.

Changing lanes on a highway :

Change lanes only when there is need. Keep in the middle of the lane you are using and don't let your car wander from side to side or into another lane. When you do need to change lanes, use the mirror-signal-manoeuvre routine, remembering how quickly vehicles may come up behind you. This routine is vital for highway safety. Start it much earlier than on an ordinary road, so that your indicators are seen well before you start your move. This should tell all who can see them that a shift in the traffic pattern is coming.

Two-lane discipline :
  On a two-lane highway, the normal driving position is in the left-hand lane. The outside (right-hand) lane is for overtaking.

Three-lane discipline :

The normal driving rule still applies - well to the left. But if there are so many slower moving vehicles in that lane that you would be moving in and out repeatedly, you may stay in the middle lane. The outside (right hand) lane is for overtaking; it is not 'the fast lane'. Don't stay in it any longer than is needed to move out, overtake and then move in again, all with a good safety margin.


If you are towing a caravan or any other kind of trailer, or driving a heavy goods vehicle, you must not use the right-hand lane, except in circumstances such as the temporary closing of one or more of the inner lanes.

Braking :

Because of high speeds on highways, any braking must be unhurried, progressive and properly spread out. The need to spread your braking adds point to the importance of proper spacing. And mirror first - every time.

Overtaking :

This is almost entirely a matter of proper spacing and good margins. The position speed- look routine is the first thing to think about. The correct position is well back from the vehicle you are going to overtake, so that you can move out on a smooth, easy course when you are ready. No sudden lurching to the right.


Next, speed: are you going fast enough, or can you accelerate enough, to overtake without balking anything coming up faster behind you? Then, look - ahead to make sure there is nothing to prevent you from overtaking safely (a lane closed for repairs, for example) and behind you.


Mirror checks are vital on a highway; and remember that vehicles may be coming up from behind much faster than you think. Next, signal - well before you start to move out. After a final mirror check, pull out smoothly into your overtaking lane, get past and back into the left as soon as you can, taking care not to move in too soon in front of the vehicle you have passed. Be particularly careful to see that indicator signals are cancelled after you have finished overtaking. The comparatively slight movements of the steering wheel may not be enough to work a self-cancelling device.


Normally you should never overtake on the left. But where the traffic is moving in queues in all lanes, and the traffic on the right is going more slowly than you are, you may maintain the speed of the traffic in your own lane and so pass on the left.

Changes in traffic conditions :

In deciding when to carry out a manoeuvre, and how much margin to leave, remember that traffic conditions can vary on highways as much as on any other road. Some stretches attract considerable rush hour traffic where they run near towns. Other stretches may have no particular rush hours. Differences of this sort are likely to have much more effect on two-lane highways.

Leaving a highway :

If you are not going to the end of the highway, you leave it by moving left from the inner lane into a deceleration lane (extra strip), if any, which  takes you on to the exit road.


Don't rush this in anyway. Use your mirror and signal in good time. There are plenty of signs to help you with your timing so that you can give yourself the necessary margins. Use these signs to spread your use of mirror and indicators, your change of lane and speed - and if necessary, your braking too. This will leave a margin all round for yourself and the other drivers affected by your action.


Unless you are already in the left-hand lane, the first step is to get into that lane. On a three-lane highway, this may mean more than one lane change. If so, you must follow the mirror-signal-manoeuvre routine for each one. Don't move to the left more than one lane at a time, and don't cut straight across from an outside lane into the deceleration lane. Move into the deceleration lane so that you can slow down before you join the exit road.

Speed when leaving a highway :

After some miles of driving on a highway, your judgement of your own speed will almost certainly be affected. Nearly everyone underestimates - 60 or 70 k.m.p.h may seem more like 40. Use your speedometer, especially when you get on the exit road from the highway and until you have had time to readjust to the slower speeds on ordinary roads. This readjustment takes several minutes.

Weather on highways :

Wet weather can make visibility much worse because vehicles (especially big ones) travelling at higher speeds throw up more spray, particularly on exposed stretches.

Never drive at fine-weather-speeds when conditions are poor. Use side lights in the daytime and headlights if necessary. Keep your speed down and leave much longer gaps; you need a bigger margin because braking distances are far longer on wet roads. If there is a danger of frost or ice, notice the feel of your steering. Any lightness is a danger sigh. A very gentle touch on your brakes occasionally, to see how they respond, is a sensible precaution.

  Fig. 21: Tyre on a wet road surface    
  Weather hazards can range form no more than having to put a visor down against the sun to being completely stuck in a snow-drift. Having your car, and its equipment, in good condition and properly adjusted can be more than half the battle.

The biggest single danger to any driver is being unable to see properly. The weather can poor up your vision by misting up the inside glass of your car, including the mirror. Misting has many causes, from winter fog to a sudden shower on a summer day. It is sensible to keep a piece of clean dry cloth handy so that you can dry the inside of the windscreen, if necessary. When there is fog on a highway, the only safe rule is that you must be able to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear.


Rain, too, can cause loss of vision by obscuring the outside of the screen and windows. The cleaner you keep the glass of your car, the sooner the wipers will be able to clear the outside of the screen, and the less you will be hampered by wet and dirty side and rear windows.


Cross-winds are another highway hazard. They may affect your steering much more than on ordinary roads. If the wind is coming from your left, be especially careful as a sudden gust could make your car swerve to the right.  Wind effects are also increased as you come out of the shelter of bridges or high embankments.


Braking is particularly difficult on wet or foggy roads, because the tyre, however good tread it has, cannot grip well on a wet, smooth road surface. In such cases, you end up making a skid. Give yourself much more room for slowing down and stopping. Your allowance for braking distances on wet roads should be at least doubled.

  You must keep your speed down when driving on a highway in any sort of bad weather. Even if other drivers are ignoring this elementary safe rule, there is no reason why you should. Keep an eye on your speedometer because you can easily find yourself speeding up without realising it, as you begin to adapt to the conditions.

Highway signs :

There are signs on highways to warn you of such dangers ahead as accidents prone areas, risk of slippery roads, culverts, villages approaching, etc. The warning is a sign posted on 8-10 feet high pole, not less than 50 yards ahead. Important places on the highways are mostly provided with flashing amber / red lights, which warn about the expected traffic movement from sideways. The highway signs have white letters on a blue panel, usually with a white border.

  SLOW DOWN : if you see flashing amber lights - to the advised speed, or follow the course shown.
  STOP : if the flashing amber lights change to flashing red lights.

The advance direction signs guide you through the way and milestones on the highways give information about the distance you are from your destination (or for that matter a landmark). All advance direction signs on highways are very much larger than those on ordinary roads to that you can read them from a greater distance.


If you do not have to stop, be ready, when you see the danger itself, to slow down still more; to a crawl if necessary. If you can see that you need to slow down or stop, start to do so much sooner than usual and treat all controls gently, especially the brakes.


Remember that fog can drift rapidly and is often patchy. Even if it seems to be clearing there can be a sudden thick patch ahead. Keep below 40 k.m.p.h. or other advised speeds until you are satisfied that it is safe to go faster again.

Stops on highways :

Apart from the flashing amber / red lights just mentioned, you may also be signalled to stop by the police or by an emergency traffic sign. Otherwise, you are allowed to stop on the carriageway only if by doing so you will prevent or avoid an accident. If you do have to stop on the carriageway, and if your vehicle is equipped so that you can switch on all the direction indicators to flash together, do so as a warning signal.

  The service road at the side of the highway is for use only in emergency - not for sightseeing stops, picnics or taking a rest. If you break down, get your vehicle onto the service road as soon as you can. If the breakdown affects your control of the car, try to keep it in a straight line while you lose speed. Avoid hard braking if at all possible, and aim at steering gently onto the service road. When you get there don't open the offside doors. Warn your passengers of the danger of passing vehicles, and keep children and animals off the carriageway - in the car if possible.

Emergency telephones :
  There are telephone centres on most stretches of highway. If you need a telephone, look for a sign post with telephone symbol and an arrow along with the distance mentioned beneath it.

Parking :
  When you go into a parking area, be very careful about your speed. Getting down to car park speeds will seem like crawling after highway speeds. Other drivers will be coming very close after driving at highway speeds and spacing. Parts of the service area are carriageways, so when you get out of your car, turn yourself into a careful pedestrian.
  The only exit from a service area is back onto the highway. The joining procedure is the same as at any other slip road and acceleration lane.

Highways at night :
  The next chapter deals with driving at night, wherever you are. Nearly all of it applies to highway driving, but take special note of 'your eyes at night'. The point about giving your eyes time to begin to adapt to darkness is an important one if you have just come out of a well-lit service area.
  Here are some special points about highways at night:

Speeds and distances are more deceptive than on ordinary roads.
Dazzle can still be a problem for oncoming drivers, especially if you are on a long left-hand bend. Use dipped beams if dazzle is likely.
If you are dazzled and have to slow down, remember the traffic behind - don't brake too suddenly.
Judging the speed and judging the distance of other vehicles are both more difficult on a highway and at night. Use your indicators sooner for longer periods. If you have any doubt at all about the safety of a particular manoeuvre, don't make it.

Summary :

Making sure that you and your vehicle are in good shape.
Joining a highway
Seeing and being seen
The importance of good spacing and early signalling
Lane discipline and overtaking
Leaving a highway; checking your speed
Bad weather driving on highways.
Emergency warning signals, stops and telephones
Special points about night driving on highways.

Night Driving :

Even in perfect weather and with good headlights properly adjusted, at nights, you cannot see as far as you can in daylight. So you cannot possibly know about what is ahead of you and around you. The night-time need is for even more alertness and a realisation that you cannot safely drive as fast as you would do in a daytime.


So far as driving is concerned, the word 'night' includes the periods of dusk and dawn - not just the hours between night and day. Towards dusk, it may well be wise to put your lights on before lighting-up time, even if it is not legally necessary. It is not a bad thing to be the fist to switch on (even if other drivers take it to think you have put your lights on by mistake). In the mornings the opposite applies. Don't switch off until you are sure that you will be safe without lights. If your car is coloured dark, switch on earlier and switch off later.

Your eyes at night :

The need to have your eyesight checked regularly was mentioned in earlier chapters. Night driving, in particular, may show a need for a check. If you have doubts, this is the time to get a check.


Even if your sight is perfect your eyes will take some time to adapt to darkness. Don't come out of a brightly lit building and drive off straightaway. Give your eyes time to begin to adjust.  Wait at least a minute or two before you start driving. You can fill in the time usefully by wiping your lights, windscreen, mirror and so on, and your spectacles if you wear them. The windscreen is particularly important - a clean screen cuts down dazzle.

Your vehicle lights :

At night, vehicle lights replace most of the many daylight sources of information about what is ahead. They also tell other road users about your movements. Your safety therefore depends on them, so use and keep them sensibly in proper order. Get the most out of them by simple precautions. Check them before any long journey.


The adjustment and setting of headlights is important and those too should be checked periodically. Whenever a light fault occurs get it put right straightaway - a new bulb or whatever it is. If you don't, you will be a danger to yourself and others.

Speed at night :

Speed limits apart, the general rule about never driving so fast that you cannot stop well within the distance you can see to be clear means, at night, 'within your lights'. If you cannot stop well within the range of your own lights you are going too fast. Try it out in a suitable place. Look for an object which is just within the range of your lights and then see if you can stop by the time you get to it. This test may give you something of a shock if you try it with dipped headlights on an unlighted road. It will certainly show how much easier it is to pick out white or light coloured objects than darker ones. It will also show the value of a good look ahead before you dip your headlights for a driver coming
towards you.

Meeting other vehicles at night :

The lights of another vehicle usually tell you its direction of travel. They may tell you very little about its speed. Lights coming towards you should raise a number of questions in your mind. These will vary with the sort of road you are on - but here are some of the chief ones:


How far away is he - and how fast is he coming?
Is this the sort of road, where I should slow down while we pass each other?
How soon should I dip?
How far ahead can I see before I dip?
Before I dip, is there anything in the way on my side of the road - stationary vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians?

On roads where headlights on full beam are necessary, dip soon enough to help oncoming drivers and riders, but not too soon. Dipped headlights cut down your range of vision, so dip after checking the road ahead as far as you can see, slowing down if necessary. If the oncoming driver doesn't dip, slow down or stop if necessary.

Dip earlier going round a left-hand bend, because your head-light beams will sweep across the eyes of anyone coming towards you. On a right-hand bend, this doesn't happen so soon - and may not happen at all, depending on the bend.

  Fig. 22: Headlights on bends

Driver A, on a right-hand bend, is about to dip.     
Driver B, on a left-hand bend, needs to dip much early

Overtaking or following at night :

The need for lower speeds at night, and the fact that you can see less than in daylight, make overtaking more difficult. Less chance to overtake makes it all the more important to follow other vehicles correctly. When you come up behind another vehicle, dip your lights in good time so that the beam does not dazzle the man ahead, either through his rear window or by reflection from his mirror. If you are being overtaken, dip your headlights as soon as the other vehicle passes you.


If you drive too close, even dipped beams will dazzle the driver ahead. So the drill is: first dip, then make sure that you are far enough back for your dipped beams to fall clear of his rear window, if not of his car. In any case, you should be keeping a proper separation distance for your speed. Where it is possible to overtake but there is oncoming traffic don't use full beam in the face of oncoming drivers.

Built-up areas at night :
  Use dipped headlights in built-up areas, unless the street lighting is very good. Notice any changes in the level of street lighting and, as far as you can, adjust your own lights to suit. Watch out for pedestrians, especially those with dark clothing.

Junctions at night :
  If you are waiting at a junction, don't keep your foot on the brake pedal. Your brake lights can be dazzling, so use the handbrake. Sometimes, if you feel that your rear indicator is dazzling the driver behind you, don't switch it off unless you are sure that you will not mislead anyone. If you do switch off, remember to put it on again before you move off and turn.

Lights when stationary :

Never leave your car on a road at night without lights (unless it is a parking place or is well illuminated). If you have to, leave your lights on and remember that your vehicle must not stand on the right-hand side of the road (except in a one-way street). Switch off your headlights even when you stop for a small time.

Warning instruments at night :

The law says that you must not use the horn between 11:00 pm and 6:00 am in a built-up area. If you need to warn other road users of your presence, flash your headlights. But remember, this is only a warning; it does not give you right of way.

Noise at night
Remember the neighbours and children who may be asleep. Close your car doors quietly and don't rev your engine unnecessarily.
  Fig. 23 : Following on dipped - - - - - -  - - headlights.    

Summary :

Your lights and your eyes
Speed at night
Meeting and overtaking other vehicles
Driving in built-up areas
Lights when stationary
Noise at night