Generally, at night, it is difficult to see clouds and restrictions to visibility, particularly on dark nights or under an overcast. When flying under VFR, pilots should exercise caution to avoid flying into clouds. Usually, the first indication of flying into restricted visibility conditions is the gradual disappearance of lights on the ground. If the lights begin to appear surrounded by a halo or glow, further flight in the same direction calls for caution. Such a halo or glow around lights on the ground is indicative of ground fog. If a descent occurs through clouds, smoke, or haze in order to land, the horizontal visibility is considerably less when looking through the restriction than it is when looking straight down through it from above. Pilots should avoid a VFR night flight if expecting conditions below VFR minimums. If encountering IMC, risk increases dramatically unless both the pilot and aircraft are equipped for flight under IFR, and the pilot has prepared and filed an IFR flight plan that can be activated, if needed.

Crossing large bodies of water at night in single-engine airplanes could be potentially hazardous, because in the event of an engine failure, the pilot may be forced to land (ditch) the airplane in the water. Another hazard faced by pilots of all aircraft, due to limited or no lighting, is that the horizon blends with the water. During poor visibility conditions over water, the horizon becomes obscure and may result in a loss of orientation. Even on clear nights, the stars may be reflected on the water surface, which could appear as a continuous array of lights, thus making the horizon difficult to identify.

Lighted runways, buildings, or other objects may cause illusions when seen from different altitudes. At an altitude of 2,000 feet, a group of lights on an object may be seen individually, while at 5,000 feet or higher, the same lights could appear to be one solid light mass. These illusions may become quite acute with altitude changes and, if not overcome, could present problems when making approaches to lighted runways.