Using your fog lights: when you should turn them on and how to use the front and back lights

With winter well and truly on its way, the likelihood of foggy motorways will be far greater as the chill hits. If you’re trying to navigate the UK’s road network in heavy mist, it’s essential to know how and when to use your car’s fog lights.

fog lights

Watch out for fog warning signs – heavy mist could be round the corner Image credit: David Dixon

When should you use your fog lights?

The Highway Code states ‘’You MUST NOT use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced’’. The reason being that fog lights dazzle other motorists, as well as obscure your vehicle’s brake lights. This makes it important to know when to use them and when to switch them off.

Fog lights should only be used when fog causes visibility to drop below 100m (328 feet) and must be switched off as soon as visibility improves.

Not using your fog lights when driving in heavy fog could result in an accident – and this could invalidate your insurance.

Can you be fined for incorrectly using your fog lights?

Incorrectly using your fog lights can be dangerous for other road users and you could potentially be breaking the law.

The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 says that it is illegal to use your lights to dazzle drivers coming towards you.

If you’re caught using your lights at the wrong time, such as in rainy conditions where visibility is not poor, you could be pulled over by the police and issued with a penalty.

Which symbol is for fog lights?

Typically, you’ll find the symbol for your car’s fog lights on the dashboard or on the button itself.

Usually, when your fog lights are switched on you will see the symbol appear on your dashboard and an amber fog lights symbol will normally indicate your rear fog lights, while green will indicate your front fog lights.

How to turn on your front and rear fog lights?

This will be dependent on your car, so you’ll need to check your vehicle’s handbook to be sure how to turn your fog lights on and off.

Generally, you’ll switch your headlights on first and then turn on your fog lights on – the button for your fog lights could be on the indicator stalk or a separate button, sometimes located to the right of the steering wheel.

Follow this rules for when driving in fog:

  • Using your lights as required – sticking to the Highway Code
  • Keep a safe distance from the car in front
  • Use your windscreen wipers and make sure it stays demisted
  • Beware of other motorists not using their headlights
  • Do not accelerate to pull away from a vehicle driving too close behind you

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