British winters are unpredictable, bringing with them sudden cold snaps, hail, snow, ice and fog. As winter approaches, how should you use your fog lights appropriately in the UK?
Avoid the Illegal Use of Fog Lights
UK drivers should abide by the Highway Code when they are on the road, including during adverse weather conditions when they will need to adapt their driving to the road conditions that lie ahead. It is crucial to use your lights appropriately during foggy weather conditions.
According to Paul Oakley, who is the RAC patrol of the year, “Although using your lights will make you more visible, there are times when the inappropriate use can be illegal and cause visibility problems for others. Many drivers switch on their rear fog lights as soon as it gets misty or starts to rain, not realising the danger this misuse of their lights may cause to themselves and other road users.”
Fog Lights Should Only Be Used in Low Visibility
The law, as outlined in Rule 226 of the Highway Code, states that the front and rear fog lights should only be used when visibility is low, when you can see no further than 100 metres (328 feet) ahead of your vehicle. Drivers who turn on their fog lights when visibility is greater than 100 metres can cause an accident by masking the brake lights and dazzling other drivers on the road.
Using fog lights inappropriately is dangerous for oncoming drivers, as the other drivers’ visibility will be reduced, which will make it harder for them to see pedestrians or cyclists who are also on the road. Once you pass through the fog, or the fog lifts, you must turn off your fog lights.
Take Extra Precautions
When you plan to drive in treacherous road conditions, such as fog, take extra precautions to stay safe on the road and allow extra time to reach your destination. Keep lights clean and make sure they are in good working order. This is especially important if you will be driving through dense fog.
Driving in fog is dangerous, but with careful planning and appropriate use of your fog lights, you will be safer on the road. Use the correct lights for the weather conditions (dipped headlights, rather than full beam) and only apply your fog lights if visibility is greatly reduced. Remember to turn off your fog lights when visibility lifts or improves and allow plenty of following room between your car and the vehicle in front.
BBC Weather, Sunday October 10, 2010, Driving in foggy conditions.
Directgov, The Highway Code. Driving in adverse driving conditions (226-237).