Hot on the heels of last week’s post about the benefits of using dipped headlamps during the day, we move on to the controversial misuse of fog lamps.

It seems we are a very confused nation when it comes to using appropriate lights for different situations.

Misuse of fog lamps is widespread on our roads. There’s a time for them but it seems some believe in using them ALL the time.

Or else they haven’t worked out yet how to turn them off and are still not sure what that illuminated symbol on the dash is for (!).

It’s difficult to tell sometimes whether it is stupidity, negligence or just plain flouting of the rules.

The clue is in the name – FOG lamps.  They are not just a decoration to make the car look more sporty, menacing or whatever is the peculiar reason why it’s okay to blind us at any time of the day with them.

When to use fog lamps?

Fog lights have a unique flat, wide beam. Because they are positioned low on the car, they can cut through fog, and light up the surface of the road in fog, mist or snow.

Front fog lights will extend the range of driver’s visibility as far as possible in front of the car. Those at the back warn other drivers of the car’s presence, when they may not be able to see clearly ahead due to fog, mist or heavy rain.

For example on a motorway in very heavy rain it’s good to slap on the rear ones. The mist and spray thrown up by the tyres spinning at speed can make the back of the car invisible from a few metres behind.


Fog lamps are for fog, heavy rain, snow – times when visibility is really poor. Then please turn them off!

Read more winter driving tips on how to use fog lamps here.

Caroline Kidd