How to Use Car Headlights on Australian Roads?

Use Car Headlights

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Navigating the roads of Australia demands a keen understanding of proper car headlight usage, especially considering the diverse driving conditions across the continent. Whether you’re dealing with the car headlights’ system, seeking effective ways to clean and maintain your car headlights, or exploring the advantages of LED car headlights, this guide by All Aspect Motors covers the essential aspects of car headlight care and usage.

Guide to Use Car Headlights: All Aspect Motors

How to Clean Car Headlights?




Regular Cleaning

Make a routine for cleaning headlights using a mild car detergent or soap, warm water, and a soft microfiber cloth or sponge.

Specialized Car Headlight Cleaners

Invest in quality headlight cleaner designed for oxidation and haze removal. Follow product instructions, applying and polishing with a clean cloth to restore clarity of cloudy or yellowed headlights.


Use toothpaste as a DIY solution. Apply a small amount to a damp cloth and rub onto headlights in circular motions. Rinse thoroughly. Toothpaste can help diminish minor scratches and restore shine.

Headlight Restoration Kits

Utilize headlight restoration kits with sandpaper and polishing compounds. Follow step-by-step instructions to sand away oxidation and polish headlights to a clear finish.

Protective Sealants

After cleaning, apply UV-resistant sealant or car wax to protect headlights from environmental damage and oxidation. This step helps maintain clarity and prolongs the effectiveness of the cleaning process.

All Aspect Motors

For severe oxidation or persistent cloudiness, consider professional headlight restoration services. We use specialized tools and techniques for a long-lasting solution to heavily damaged lights.


Brightness of Car Headlights:

Evolution from Halogen to HID and LED

Halogen lamps, once popular are now gradually giving way to HID and LED headlights. These newer technologies not only provide increased brightness but also go for superior energy efficiency. Laser headlights, taking this efficiency a step further. It offers unparalleled advantages in both light intensity and definition. However, as the brightness increases, the need to address potential glare issues for oncoming drivers are concerned.

In Australia, where the brilliance of HID and LED headlights is mandated by the Australian Design Rules (ADR), regulations require these advanced systems to incorporate self-cleaning and self-leveling features. These measures aim to mitigate the risk of drivers being dazzled by the intense illumination, especially during challenging driving conditions.

Aftermarket Options and Legal Considerations

While it is possible to upgrade to brighter aftermarket lamps, exceeding the maximum lumens without incorporating necessary features may give a vehicle un-roadworthiness. Fitting LED or HID bulbs into standard places is not only ill-advised but also lacks approval from the Australian Design Rules (ADR), potentially causing visibility issues for other drivers.

High Beam Etiquette and Best Practices

Proper usage of high beams is critical for road safety. Drivers should switch off high beams when within 200 meters of other vehicles, whether approaching or preceding. When overtaking, a brief transition from low to high beams before the maneuver ensures optimal visibility without causing discomfort to other drivers.

Interior Lights

In Western Australia, there are no penalties for driving with an interior light on, but it’s advisable to use it only when safely pulled over, as it can limit road visibility, especially at night.

Standard headlights and high beams are vital for visibility, but improper use can hinder other drivers. Headlights and tail lights must be on between sunset and sunrise and in hazardous conditions with reduced visibility.

High-beam headlights allow for extended visibility but must be switched to low-beam within 200 meters of oncoming or preceding vehicles to prevent dazzling.

If dazzled by oncoming high-beam headlights, look to the left side of the road and drive towards the left of your lane. If necessary, slow down and pull over until your vision recovers.

Using fog or additional headlights correctly is crucial. Ensure they are only activated in appropriate weather conditions to avoid distracting other drivers.

Must To Know: Use of Car Headlights

Using headlights is one of the most important aspect of road safety, below mentioned are general guidelines regarding using car headlights on Australian roads that are commonly applicable:

High Beam vs. Low Beam

When driving in urban areas, well-lit roads, or with oncoming traffic, use low beam headlights to illuminate the road without blinding other drivers.

In rural or unlit areas, use high beam headlights, but switch to low beams when approaching or following other vehicles.

Fog Lights

Fog lights are designed for foggy or misty conditions, mounted lower on the vehicle’s front, producing a wide, flat beam to reduce glare.

Daytime Running Lights (DRLs)

Daytime running lights in vehicles automatically activate when the engine is running, enhancing visibility during daylight hours.

Car Headlights in Cold Weather

Using headlights in adverse weather conditions like rain or snow enhances visibility for other drivers.

Headlight Etiquette

Dim your headlights when approaching another vehicle from behind or from the opposite direction to prevent blinding other drivers.

Use of Headlights at Night

Driving with headlights on at night, even with street lighting, is a common practice to enhance visibility to other drivers.

Parking Lights

Parking lights, also known as sidelights or position lights, are not a replacement for headlights and should not be used for driving, but rather to enhance vehicle visibility.

Automatic Headlights

Automatic headlights in some vehicles are activated and function properly based on ambient light conditions.

Types of Car Lights

Dipped Headlights

  • Brighter than sidelights but not as bright as full beam.
  • Angled downwards toward the road.
  • Used in reduced visibility conditions, such as at night or during bad weather.


Full Beam Headlights

  • Brightest headlights, angled higher than dipped headlights.
  • Used on unlit stretches of road at night.
  • Must be turned off when meeting oncoming traffic or following another vehicle.

Fog Lights

  • Designed to cut through fog and mist.
  • Front and rear fog lights may have different colors (amber for rear, green for front).
  • Used when visibility is below 100 meters.

Hazard Warning Lights

  • Used to warn of danger or obstructions.
  • Activated when the vehicle is stationary due to an accident, breakdown, or obstruction.


  • Blinking amber lights indicate turning intentions.
  • Used when turning, changing lanes, overtaking, or pulling away.

Sidelights/Parking Lights

  • Positioned in the headlamp unit.
  • Less bright than headlights, used to make the vehicle visible when it’s not dark enough for main lights.
  • Required when parked on a road with a speed limit over 30mph or in fog.

Tail Lights

  • Located on the back of the car.
  • Illuminate simultaneously with headlights, indicating that the vehicle is on.

Brake Lights

  • Red lights near tail lights.
  • Illuminate when brakes are applied, signaling that the vehicle is slowing down.
  • Important for safety and legal compliance.

Car Headlight Bulb Types

  • Halogen Headlights

Use a tungsten filament and gases to produce light.

Common but less energy-efficient and can be less bright.

  • LED Headlights

Light emitting diodes for energy efficiency.

Faster rise time, long-lasting, and versatile in design.

More expensive than halogen bulbs.

  • Xenon/High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Headlights

Produce a bright white or blue glow.

Up to three times brighter than halogen bulbs.

More expensive and may cause glare for other drivers.

Types of Car Headlight Systems

Reflector Headlight Systems

  • Reflector headlights use a parabolic reflector to amplify and direct light through a lens with ground mini-lenses.
  • They use mirrors strategically placed inside the housing to illuminate the road.
  • Early reflector headlights were sealed-beam assemblies, requiring bulb replacement. Modern reflector systems use mirrors, allowing for individual bulb replacement.
  • Reflectors are cost-effective and commonly found in various vehicle models, providing sufficient illumination for driving conditions.

Projector Headlight Systems

  • Projector headlights are a type of headlight that use a lens to magnify the brightness of a bulb, allowing for a more controlled and concentrated beam of light.
  • Originating in luxury vehicles in the 1980s, they have gained popularity in modern vehicles due to their enhanced lighting performance.
  • These headlights provide a more focused and intense light output, improving visibility and making them a preferred choice for many drivers.

Best Car Headlights to Drive at Night

Yellow and white headlights for night driving are often influenced by personal preferences, driving conditions, and local regulations, each with its own advantages and considerations.

Yellow Light:

  • Yellow light is a softer light that reduces glare and is more comfortable for night driving.
  • It can better cut through rain, fog, and snow than white light, providing better visibility in inclement weather.
  • Yellow light is commonly used in fog lights to improve contrast and visibility in foggy conditions. However, it may be less effective in clear conditions due to its lower brightness and contrast.
  • Some regions have specific regulations regarding headlight color, and yellow headlights may not be legal or restricted to certain applications.

White Light:

  • White light, closely resembling natural sunlight, improves road visibility by providing clear illumination.
  • It is the standard color for headlights in many countries and may be the only acceptable color for headlights according to regulations.
  • However, it can create more glare and may be uncomfortable for some drivers. White light also effectively reflects off-road signs and markings.


Local regulations regarding headlight color are crucial for compliance with laws. Regular maintenance, such as keeping headlights clean and aligned, is essential for optimal performance. Familiarity with local regulations contributes to road safety and prevents accidents.

Reflector and projector headlights have their merits, and the choice depends on cost, styling preferences, and desired lighting performance.

The choice of headlight type for night driving is subjective and depends on individual preferences and driving conditions. Yellow light may be preferred for softer illumination in adverse weather, while white light is preferred for brightness and clarity.

Aftermarket options are available for those looking to upgrade or customize their headlights. Advancements in lighting technology, such as LED and HID headlights, offer improved efficiency and design flexibility. Understanding when and how to use each type of light is essential for safe and responsible driving.


Can aftermarket lights be added to a vehicle?

It’s possible to install aftermarket lamps for vehicles originally unequipped with HID or LED lamps, with a maximum of four additional driving lights permitted. However, it’s important to note that fitting LED or HID components into a standard car spots may improperly disperse light, affecting other drivers’ visibility and violating ADR standards. For vehicles with aftermarket headlights emitting over 2000 lumens, lacking required self-leveling and self-cleaning features, the vehicle may be deemed unfit for road use.

What are the use of fog lights?

Fog lights are designed to illuminate low and wide areas, unlike headlights that project light more narrowly and further ahead. Using fog lights in clear conditions can be distracting for other drivers and is illegal. These lights should only be activated during foggy or hazardous weather conditions, and when in use, headlights must be turned off.

What is DRL?

Daytime running lights (DRLs) are common in many vehicles, enhancing visibility and serving as a styling feature. However, as it gets darker, DRLs may cause confusion, with some drivers mistaking them for headlights. Bright digital instrument lighting can also give the impression that headlights are on. Using the auto lights-on function in modern cars ensures headlights activate when necessary.

How can I clean my car headlights effectively?

To clean car headlights, use a dedicated car headlight cleaner or a DIY solution of vinegar and baking soda. Apply the cleaner, scrub gently with a soft brush or cloth, and rinse thoroughly for clear and well-maintained headlights.

Which cars are known for having pop-up headlights?

Classic sports cars like the Mazda RX-7, Porsche 928, and Chevrolet Corvette are renowned for featuring pop-up headlights. These distinctive headlights mechanically pop up when in use and retract or when not needed.

What are the advantages of LED car headlights?

LED car headlights offer enhanced brightness, energy efficiency, and durability. They provide a longer and more defined beam of light compared to traditional halogen bulbs, contributing to improved visibility and road safety.

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