keeping you on the road
Despite their somewhat self-explanatory name, a great many drivers do not seem to know what fog lights are for or when they should use them. Many people think of their fog lights as an added extra that’s not really necessary while a few see them as a way of enhancing the ‘bling value’ of their car. Then there are the people who use them but then forget to turn them off when visibility improves.
Front fog lights are designed to light up the road below the fog. They are designed with a wide yet short beam that delivers maximum visibility for the road ahead. If they are not angled down at the road, you should have them adjusted as they will dazzle oncoming vehicles.
Rear fog lights are intensely bright red lights that are designed to be seen where normal rear lights are clouded by the fog. Unfortunately, this will mean that your brake lights are less obvious so you should always take this into account when driving in the fog. Keep your distance from cars in front and give yourself longer to react.
Check your lights regularly – once a month at least. Put the lights on and stand in front of and then behind the car while someone else changes the settings and applies the brake. Make sure that all your lights work (and your hazard warning lights, while you are at it) and check that ordinary headlights on the dipped setting and your front fog lamps work and are angled downwards.
The simple answer can be found under rule 236 of the Highway Code, which states:
“You MUST NOT use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced (see Rule 226) as they dazzle other road users and can obscure your brake lights. You MUST switch them off when visibility improves.”
If you are thinking of putting your fog lights on but you are not sure, you can use other vehicles as a guide. If you can still see them at a reasonable distance with dipped headlights, then you probably don’t need your fog lights yet. If the fog worsens turn them on but keep checking on your visibility of other vehicles so that you turn your fog lights off as soon as they are not needed.
If you fail to turn off your fog lights when visibility improves, you could find yourself facing an on the spot fine of £30. Worse still, if your fog lights are deemed to have caused an accident, for example by reducing the clarity of your brake lights, you could have problems with any associated insurance claim.
While the use of fog lights is not compulsory (the rule above only says when not to use them), if your vehicle is fitted with fog lights and you don’t use them when you should.