Using your vehicle’s instruments and driving aids

Before you set off, make sure you know what the dashboard warning lights in your car mean: check your vehicle handbook and see the instrument panel section for more information.

Make sure you know where to find the switches and controls you’re likely to need while you’re driving, such as the controls for the windscreen washers and wipers, demisters, indicators and headlights. You’ll need to be able to use these without losing control of the vehicle while it’s moving. Look in your vehicle handbook if you’re not sure where to find any of the controls.

Lights

Using dipped headlights

Use dipped headlights

  • at night
  • whenever the light is poor, even during the day, to make your vehicle more visible to others – for example, in rain, drizzle or mist.

Fog lights

Only use fog lights when visibility is reduced to 100 metres (328 feet) or less. You must not use fog lights at any other time because they can dazzle other drivers.

Flat and convex mirrors

Most interior mirrors and some exterior mirrors are made of flat glass: flat mirrors give a ‘true’ reflection of what is going on behind you.

Many exterior mirrors have convex glass: this means it is slightly curved so it gives a wider field of vision. However, this also makes it harder for you to judge the speed and position of vehicles in the mirror. A car behind you will look smaller in a convex mirror so it could be closer to you than you think.

Changes to road and weather conditions

The road surface and the weather can change while you’re driving so you may need to change controls in your car or change how you’re driving in response. For example, if it starts raining, the road surface will be more slippery so you’ll need to increase your distance from the vehicle in front and reduce your speed, as well as turning on your windscreen wipers and possibly your headlights. If the weather changes from being cloudy to very sunny, you might need to pull down the sun visor and/or put on sunglasses.


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