The world of car lighting has made great strides in recent years, so much so that some car parts with this purpose are treated almost as optional extras. Such is the case with fog lights. And if you too are wondering when to use fog lights, know that you are not the only one. Thanks to the power and convenience of the latest headlights and sidelights, many people find themselves in this situation of doubt. To help you clear the haze surrounding your fog lights, we’ve created a comprehensive guide to keep you safe while driving in the winter months.
What to do in fog and when to turn on your fog lights
If you know you might encounter fog banks on your journey, you already know that you should always be prepared to leave a greater distance between you and the car in front to avoid sudden obstacles and not find yourself in unpleasant situations when braking suddenly. You’ll also need to make sure that your windshield wipers are in good condition so that you can keep your windshield clean and defogged. In general, if you have difficulty seeing clearly in front of you, reduce your speed or consider pulling over to a safe place until the fog has cleared. And given these precautions, the question arises: when should you use fog lights?
According to traffic laws, you should only use fog lights when your visibility is reduced to 100 yards or less, the equivalent of almost a soccer field. The 1989 highway vehicle lighting regulations strictly prohibit the use of front and rear fog lights when they are not needed because they can dazzle other drivers and disturb them from driving.
It is important to use fog lights properly and consider purchasing a vehicle that displays whether they are on or off on the dashboard. It’s okay to turn them on in fog or heavy rain, but always remember that if driving conditions are not right for turning them on and you should unfortunately find yourself in an accident, your insurance company may claim you are not liable.
Always check your fog lights
During the colder fall and winter months, you should always check to see if your fog lights are working before heading out on a trip.
If your vehicle has automatic lights that turn on in low light conditions, you may need to manually turn on your fog lights as they are not part of the “essential” package of the lighting system and may be automatically overridden by this automatic feature.
The fog lights are generally operated by a separate switch from the main light controls. Some cars use buttons to activate them-one for the rear, one for the front (where the front fog lights are mounted)-while others have a collar on the light control that you flip back and forth to turn them on. Some cars use the rotary light switch control to activate them: just pull the switch toward you and the fog lights come on.
Most cars also have a symbol in the instrument cluster that will tell you when the fog lights are on. It is usually next to the symbol that indicates the car lights are on. For rear-facing fog lights, the symbol will point in the opposite direction of the headlight symbol, while the front fog light symbol points in the same direction as the headlight symbol. Most fog lights are designed to turn off when the car or lights are turned off, so you shouldn’t run the risk of forgetting them on. Conversely, if they are, it’s always your responsibility, so be careful.
When to Use Fog Lights
Some drivers seem to think that the slightest bit of fog is reason enough to turn on their fog lights, but unfortunately that’s not enough. So let’s give a good explanation of when they should be used and, more importantly, when you shouldn’t be turning them on at all.
Fog lights are designed to be used when visibility is severely limited, primarily by fog, but also in other low-visibility conditions such as snow or heavy rain. They’re designed to make you more visible, rather than help you light up the road so they’re not needed in good visibility conditions at night-that’s what they’re for! They should only be used when your car’s main lights won’t be enough to make you visible to other road users. If you need more driving light for your visibility, rely more on good headlights than on this secondary system!
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