Lights and warning devices

Fog lights, headlights, driving lights – oh my! Wrap your head around the most important rules.

There are a lot of different kinds of lights and warning devices to be aware of on Victorian roads and knowing when to use them can be a challenge. Here, we summarise the basics.

Quick facts for headlights, number plate lights, parking lights and tail lights

View of car lights from inside a vehicle
  • You can’t drive at night or in hazardous weather unless your headlights, tail lights and number plate lights are operating effectively and are clearly visible.
  • Side clearance lights or side marker lights (e.g. trucks), must always be working and visible.
  • When using headlights on high beam, extra care is needed to avoid glare to truck drivers. Truck mirrors are large and don’t have anti-glare positions, so dip your lights as required by law, no closer than 200 metres to a moving vehicle, or further away if it’s safe to do so.
  • When stopped or parked legally on a length of road or in areas where parking control signs apply, lights can be left off.
  • Bicycle and scooter riders need to ensure their bike or scooter has lights and a red reflector when riding at night. They also need to be fitted with a bell or warning device.

Dazzling lights

You must not use, or allow a passenger to use, a light to dazzle another road user or in a way that is likely to dazzle another road user. To avoid this, we recommend requesting to have your lights checked and the headlamps re-aimed when you get your car serviced (as this isn’t always included).

For more information see rule 219 of the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017.

Fog lights

Front and rear fog lights should only be used in fog or other hazardous weather conditions, like snowfall, heavy rain or a dust storm. During the day when there is fog or other hazardous weather conditions, headlights may be kept off if the driver is using their front fog lights.

Fog lights shouldn’t be confused with driving or daytime running lights, which may be located in a similar position on a vehicle but have different uses.

See rule 217 of the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017

For more information on lights, check out our tips on Car Safety.

Flashing your headlights

Drivers may switch their headlights to high-beam briefly to warn a vehicle ahead that you’re about to overtake.

Using headlights on high beam isn’t allowed within 200m of an oncoming vehicle or a vehicle travelling in the same direction ahead of you as it can dazzle the other driver.

Keep in mind, you’re not allowed to flash your headlights to warn other drivers about a mobile speed camera.

For more information see rule 218 of the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017.

Hazard warning lights

Hazard warning lights can only be used when your vehicle is:

  • Stopped and obstructing, or likely to block other vehicles or pedestrians
  • Moving slowly and obstructing, or likely to block other vehicles or pedestrians
  • Stopped in an emergency stopping lane
  • Stopped to sell a product that may attract children onto the road (such as ice creams)
  • A bus carrying children, and the driver stops to pick up or drop off a child (see regulation 31(5) of the Transport (Passenger Vehicles) Regulations 2005)
  • Operating the hazard warning lights as part of anti-theft or alcohol interlock devices.

See rule 221 of the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017.

Horns

You can only use your horn to warn other roads users or animals of the approach or position of your vehicle. They can also be used as part of an anti-theft device or alcohol interlock fitted to the vehicle.

See rule 224 of the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017.

The summaries RACV provide on Victorian road rules are based on the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017. We make sure to reference the exact rule where possible. When reading, keep in mind that we’re providing general information, not legal advice. If you’re looking for specific questions on any legal matter, consult with a lawyer for help.