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Fog lights and when to use them

With the long, winter nights still lingering for another couple of months, motorists across the UK are faced with all kinds of extra hazards on the roads to look out for. Along with the likes of slippery roads, poor lighting and reflective road surfaces, motorists also have to deal with weather conditions such as heavy rain, snow and fog – all of which can make it more difficult to see oncoming risks, pedestrians and even other road users.

The fog lights on your car can be used to combat this reduced visibility, and aid safe driving – however, using them at the wrong time could mean that you are breaking the law and endangering other drivers. So, to help make sure that you are as safe as possible on the roads this winter, we’ve put together a handy guide on fog lights and when to use them.

When to use fog lights

Your car’s fog lights are designed to be switched on when visibility is severely reduced. Usually, this is due to their namesake; fog, but they can also be used in poor visibility conditions such as snow or heavy rain. Rather than helping to light your way, fog lights are designed to make you more visible to other road users, so should only be used when your car’s main headlights aren’t quite enough to make you stand out whilst on the road.

The Highway Code states: “You MUST use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced, generally when you cannot see for more than 100 metres (328 feet). You may also use front or rear fog lights, but you MUST switch them off when visibility improves.”

In the UK, street lights on 30mph roads are placed no more 183 metres apart, so as a rule of thumb you should switch your fog lights on if you cannot see the next street light up the road from the one that you’re passing.

When NOT to use fog lights

Many motorists get confused about when to use their car’s fog lights, often switching them on at the slightest hint of mist – however by doing this you will risk dazzling other road users. With this in mind, it’s important that you stay vigilant when using them. Be aware of changing weather conditions, for example; fog that forms in the early morning will likely melt away as the sun rises – so, if you’ve started your day with your fog lights on, re-evaluate the situation as the day goes on.

As with your car’s main headlights, it’s important that you check that your fog lights are in full working order before setting off on a long journey – particularly during the winter months. For more information about some of the ways to ensure that your car is safe during winter, or to test drive a new car, contact your nearest Hatfields retailer today.