When To Use Fog Lights

Through autumn and winter you might find yourself relying on your fog lights more than usual.

In this post we’ll outline what the law says about fog lights – when you should use them, and when you shouldn’t use them.

When Should You Use Fog Lights?

Rule 226 of the Highway Code says that you should only use fog lights when visibility is less than 100 metres (328 feet). For a general idea of how far that is, think of the length of a full size football pitch.

If it’s so foggy that you’re struggling to see other road users, switch them on and you’ll improve your visibility while also making it easier for other drivers to spot you.

Note that the rules say you should only use fog lights when visibility’s low. You should not use fog lights at any other time, as this can distract drivers.

What’s the Penalty for Not Using Fog Lights?

There are no specific laws against not using fog lights when visibility is low. However, if police catch you driving without your fog lights turned on in foggy conditions, they may give you a caution, or even a fixed penalty notice for a general offence, such as “driving without due care and attention”.

If your car is due to have an MOT soon then you need to ensure you fog lights are working. If they aren’t your car will fail the MOT.

Is It Illegal to Keep Fog Lights Turned On?

There are clear laws against using your fog lights when they’re not needed, as they can easily dazzle or confuse other drivers. This extends to using fog lights in rainy conditions. The rain might reduce visibility, but fog lights are specifically designed to cut through fog, not rain.

If police pull you over for driving with fog lights when they’re not needed, they might just give you a verbal warning or they might give you a fixed penalty notice.

How to Turn On Fog Lights

By law, all UK cars must be fitted with rear fog lights. But not all UK cars have front fog lights.

Your owner’s manual will tell you what sort of lights your vehicle has, and how to turn them on and off. But as a general rule of thumb:

  • Front fog lights – Look for a symbol that resembles a lamp pointing to the left, with diagonal lines pointing down and a wavy line cutting through. Front fog lights might be activated by a button on your dashboard, on the steering wheel controls, or by the dial for controlling your regular lights.
  • Rear fog lights – This symbol’s basically the opposite of the front fog light symbol: A lamp pointing to the right, with straight horizontal lines and a vertical wavy line cutting through. There’ll most likely be a dedicated button on your dashboard for operating your rear fog lights. But again, check your owner’s manual if you can’t find one as it will vary by car.

Ready for Autumn and Winter?

Driving during autumn and winter can be challenging. But you’ll find plenty of guides on our site for staying safe during the colder months of the year:

Also, now would be a great time to buy breakdown cover when you purchase your comprehensive car insurance policy. Breakdowns can be more likely in the autumn and winter, but this vital extra cover will ensure you’ll get all the support you need. Get in touch for a free quote online.


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