Fog light symbol: The ONLY times you should use your fog lights – when and how to use them

UK weather: Mild temperatures with mist and fog expected

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The Met Office is forecasting thick fog for much of the UK this week, with murky conditions expected all across central, southeast, and eastern parts. When driving in foggy conditions, it’s vital to know how to keep yourself and other drivers safe – but using your fog lights at the wrong time is against driving laws, so make sure you’re well informed – read on for how to use your lights correctly. 

When should you use your fog lights?

According to the RAC, fog lights should only be used in fog, hen visibility drops below 100 metres (328 feet) which is roughly the length of a football pitch – this is stated by the Highway Code.

Make sure to only use your fog lights when appropriate – if your car is involved in an accident and you weren’t using your fog lights, it could invalidate your insurance.

The RAC said: “Use your common sense. If the fog is so severe that you’re struggling to see other vehicles, switch on your fog lights.”

The RAC added: “But don’t keep switching them off and on again, as this can confuse other drivers.”

Rear fog lights are considered the most important – you should only use your front fog lights in severely restricted conditions, the RAC said.

Under the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989, it is prohibited to use front or rear fog lights to dazzle other drivers when visibility is not reduced or when the vehicle is parked.

You should never use your fog lights in rain or drizzle, and could be fined by the police if caught.

How can you find your fog lights?

All cars are fitted with rear fog lights by law, and many in the UK have both front and back fog lights.

The symbol for fog lights is shown in the photographs above.

The one showing a lamp pointing to the left and with lines pointing diagonally down through the vertical wavy line is for your front fog lights.

The one pointing in the opposite direction, with lines pointing horizontally straight through the wavy line is for your rear fog lights.

They can usually be found on a button on the dashboard, on a steering wheel stalk, or next to the dial you use to control your regular lights.

There will be a symbol on your car’s dashboard or on the fog light button itself: it’s normally an amber indicator for rear fog lights and a green one for front fog lights.

If your car is fitted with automatic lights activated by low light levels, remember to check the lights are on, as they may not be automatically activated in foggy conditions.

If you can’t track them down or work out how to turn them on, have a look in your car’s logbook.

How to stay safe when driving in fog – top tips

Here are the RAC’s top tips for staying safe in fog:

  • Before entering fog, you should check your mirrors, then slow down
  • Maintain a greater distance between you and the car in front, you could increase the gap to four seconds from the recommended two
  • Make sure to use your wipers and to keep your windscreen demisted to aid visibility
  • If the word ‘fog’ is shown on a signal, but the road is clear, be prepared for a sudden bank of fog or drifting, patchy fog
  • Use your lights if visibility is reduced to 100 metres (328 feet) or roughly the length of a football pitch
  • Make sure you know where your fog-light switch is before you set off
  • Do not use full beam, because the fog reflects the light back, reducing visibility even further
  • Do not attempt to navigate using the tail lights of the car in front, as these can give a false sense of security
  • If visibility is very limited, wind down your windows at junctions and crossroads to allow you to listen out for approaching traffic
  • If you really cannot see, you should consider stopping until it is safe to continue.

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