Lights on the car – free driving licence theory

Different types of lights

Dipped headlights

The norm is to use a combination of dipped headlights and parking lights. There are however prohibited light combinations:

  • Dipped headlights + fog lights = prohibited
  • Dipped headlights + daytime lights = prohibited
  • Dipped headlights + auxiliary high beam lamps = prohibited
  • Fog lights + daytime lights = prohibited

Full beam headlights

Street at night.

Doubtful as to whether full beam headlights are needed here.

Full beam headlights are the car’s most powerful lights. Use them as often as you can when it is dark outside. As full beam headlights are so strong, they may dazzle other road users. It is prohibited to use full beam headlights under the following circumstances:

  • When oncoming vehicles are so close that the driver can be dazzled (also applies to trains, trailers and vessels).
  • When you are behind another vehicle (the driver is dazzled through their mirrors).
  • When the road is sufficiently lit by daylight or street lights.

You do not need to dim your full beam headlights for pedestrians. Pedestrians can easily avoid being dazzled by looking away. With full beam headlights you can see pedestrians more clearly, which is important from a safety perspective.

If you are driving on a smaller road and approach a junction with a lot of traffic, it may be a good idea to turn off the full beam headlights as you otherwise risk dazzling the crossing traffic.

If you meet a lorry at the crest of a hill, you must dim your full beam headlights as soon as you see the position lights on the roof, as the driver’s cab is positioned high up in relation to private cars.

Full beam headlights often enable you to see better. Sometimes, however, it can be the opposite. If you are driving in heavy fog or snow, try switching to dipped headlights to see if visibility improves.

In order to avoid being dazzled by oncoming cars at night-time, fix your gaze along the right side of the road.

Indicators

As a rule, indicators are placed at the back, front and sides of the car. They are to be used when you are intending to:

  • Turn right or left.
  • Change lane.
  • Turn around.
  • Pull out from the side of the road.
  • Manoeuvre the car sideways in any other notable manner.

Important clarification regarding the use of indicators

Warning sign
I am driving on a priority road and see this sign. Do I need to indicate if I intend to continue to the right?
– Yes, you must show the other road users what you intend to do.


2 lanes
I position myself in the left lane. Do I need to indicate left when I turn?
– Yes, oncoming traffic does not see the arrows on the ground.

Hazard warning lights

Hazard warning lights must be used in the event of an emergency stop or similar. The hazard warning lights normally use the same lights as the normal indicators. The difference is that all lights blink at the same time.

During towing, the hazard warning lights are used on the car being towed, but this is not a requirement. It is however important to consider that this can cause confusion in connection with turning. One solution can be to temporarily switch off hazard warning lights in connection with junctions.

Fog lights

The front fog lights have a stronger beam than the dipped headlights and are therefore more effective in fog. It is permitted to use fog lights instead of dipped headlights in daylight, but never to combine these two types.

In darkness, it is only permitted to use fog lights instead of dipped headlights in the event of fog or heavy rain.

Rear fog light

The rear fog light (a very powerful red light) is used so that drivers behind you can see you clearly when visibility is drastically reduced. The rear fog light is dazzling, so it must be turned off as soon as you feel that the vehicle behind you has seen you.

Daytime lights

Daytime lights are used to increase the car’s visibility. When it is daylight and visibility is good, daytime lights can be used instead of dipped headlights. Not all cars have daytime lights.

Combining daytime lights with dipped headlights or fog lights is prohibited.

Auxiliary high beam lamps

Auxiliary high beam lamps can be fitted to the car in order to strengthen the full beam headlights (may not be used together with dipped headlights). There are two different types of auxiliary light beam lamps:

  • Cornering lamps illuminate the area close to the car so that you can see clearly along the edges.
  • Spot lights cast a narrow beam forward so that you can see further up ahead.

Parking lights

Parking lights should be used when stopping or parking the car in poor visibility. This is in order for other road users to see the car. The parking light is low-power and can as a rule be left on for many hours without draining the battery.

Tail lights

At least 2 red lights which turn on automatically.

Brake lights

Red lights which illuminate when the brake pedal is depressed. The brake lights always give out a stronger light than the tail lights.

Reversing light

White light which illuminates when the car is in reverse.

Rear registration plate lamp

Lights up automatically and illuminates the registration plate.

Correct dimming of full beams

Head-on

Correct dimming of full beams, example 1.
1. Drive with full beam headlights as long as you can. It is important that you can see what is happening on the road ahead.

Correct dimming of full beams, example 2.
2. When the full beam headlights “meet” on the road or when you feel that you are dazzled by the other car, it is time to switch to dipped headlights.

Correct dimming of full beams, example 3.
3. Exactly at the point when you are level with the other car, switch back to full beams.

Overtaking

Correct dimming of full beams, example 4.
1. Drive with full beam headlights as long as you can. It is important that you can see what is happening on the road ahead.

Correct dimming of full beams, example 5.
2. When you are close to the car that you are to overtake, it is time to dim your full beams.

Correct dimming of full beams, example 6.
3. Exactly at the point when you are level with the other car, switch back to full beams.

Correct dimming of full beams, example 7.
4. Now it is the car which has been overtaken which must turn off their full beam headlights in order not to dazzle you.

Bends

Correct dimming of full beams, example 8.
In this bend, car A must switch off their full beam headlights quickly so as not to dazzle B. Car B, however, can have their full beams on for longer, as the beams are pointing away from A.

Visibility in darkness

Dark clothing without reflectors

  • Dipped headlights: 25 m
  • Full beam headlights: 150 m

Light clothing without reflectors

  • Dipped headlights: 60 m
  • Full beam headlights: 300 m

With reflectors

  • Dipped headlights: 125 m
  • Full beam headlights: 450 m

Practice theory tests

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Last updated 2018-11-29.