General Question

MissAnthrope's avatar

Is it illegal to drive with your fog lights on (when weather conditions are clear/good)?

Asked by MissAnthrope (21491points) January 9th, 2010

It kind of feels like it should be. I find myself frequently blinded by people who drive with their fog lights on.

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23 Answers

galileogirl's avatar

On some cars I have rented, the lights come on when the engine starts, so I would hav say no

La_chica_gomela's avatar

My friend’s Chevy Impala lights come on automatically too. Those are supposedly “daytime running lights”, not sure what the difference is. I actually would prefer it if all cars had their lights on during the day, it’s easier to see them. Also, my mom adds that you’re statistically less likely to get into an accident if you have your lights on in the daytime than not.

AstroChuck's avatar

In California, yes.

scotsbloke's avatar

here in the UK:

You MUST NOT use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced as they dazzle other road users and can obscure your brake lights. You MUST switch them off when visibility improves.

Most cars do not have FOG lights on the front of their cars. The standard front lights have, side beam, dipped beam and main beam. Dipped beam is the normal nighttime driving mode. The main beam is to be used when visiblity is low in unlight areas like country lanes. You turn on and off as you need them and always when another car apporaches. FOG lights are usually fitted below bumper on cars that have them and should only light up the area of road directly in front of the car.

Cars do have rear FOGs and these should only be used when visibility is below 100 meters. Rear fogs should not be used when its raining as they dazzle the driver behind and obscure the brake lights.

Info from t’net

in my opinion / experience – it’s not heavily policed though!

nope's avatar

I’ve been driving with mine on for 10 years, and never had a problem. Nor do people “flash” me to indicate my lights are too bright. Why would it be illegal? Fog lights are for seeing in fog, and should be aimed somewhat at or lower than the level of the regular beams…if they are aimed too high, in foggy conditions all that happens is the water particles in the fog reflect the light right back at the driver, and it’s a disaster. Same reason you don’t drive in fog with your high beams on, it just doesn’t work. If you’re getting blinded by peoples fog lights, it’s either really their high beams, or a horrible installation job.

AstroChuck's avatar

@MissAnthrope- I apologize. I had misread your question. It is illegal to drive with only your fog lights on in California. But If your headlamps are on as well then it should be legal.

jerv's avatar

@La_chica_gomela @galileogirl DRLs are something different. Some countries make them mandatory , but there have been complaints in the US that some of them cause too much glare. Still, DRLs are authorized in the US. Some other countries place certain design/[erformance limits on DRLs, but the US (as usual when it comes to regulating technology) is stuck in the 14th century.

Fog lights are the ones mounted in bumper in addition to the headlights. I have yet to see any law against them here in the states, but I believe that it varies from place to place.

JesusWasAJewbot's avatar

It is illegal, they should know this as its usually on a test.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Here in Australia, it is illegal but never policed. I have never heard of anyone being disciplined for it. Daytime running lights like those on modern Audis are fine, but fog lights are illegal.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Thanks, everyone. I have a new car (to me, anyway, it’s a ‘96) that has fog lights. Previously, I’ve been blinded by what I considered jerks who have both regular and fog lights on at the same time. I will say that my eyes are very light-sensitive (this is why I usually have sunglasses on even when it’s cloudy, not at all because I’m major cool), so maybe this bothers only me.

Anyway, it just feels like it should be illegal, I mean, the combination can be very bright. However, I find that I like driving with mine on even in clear conditions because I can see the road so much better. So, now I understand why people drive with them on, but it still doesn’t feel right because I don’t want to be a jerk and “dazzle” other drivers. (I liked the use of “dazzle” there)

nope's avatar

Have you had your eyes checked by a qualified Opthamologist? Just an idea here, but a friend of mine, even at a relatively young age for such a condition, was diagnosed with cataracts. He originally went in because he wanted laser surgery, and it came out that he was having some trouble seeing when driving, particularly at night in certain lighting conditions, and it was because of the cataracts. It’s operable, he just hasn’t done it yet, because it’s not a truly serious condition at this point. Anyway, I bring it up, just in case.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@MissAnthrope Does it really matter if you can see the road better? As long as you can see where the road is going with good clarity, you have all you need. Whether or not you can focus on individual chunks of asphalt or not is irrelevant to driving. For the sake of the rest of us, please leave them off.

jerv's avatar

As an aside, properly-aimed fog lights are aimed low enough that you really shouldn’t see any glare from them unless you are within about 30 feet of them and even then only if you are laying in the road.

However, it is safe to say that many people never have their lights properly aimed.

phil196662's avatar

Daytime running lights are dimmer than regular lights so they assist safety on blind roads, However in California and other states High Beam Lights and the Extra Distance Lights on most new cars are actually ILLEGAL to have operating if an Oncoming Vehicle is within 200 Yards- you blinding that driver and if you cause a collision you get to pay for everything even if He Caused it! At least this is how I read the law…

So most new cars have Illegal extra driving lights Wired Incorrectly, they should be wired so they Only work when your using your High Beam Lights.

jerv's avatar

@phil196662 I never heard of “extra distance lights”, and neither has Google. I also take it that you have never driven in a real fog. High beams will turn your entire windshield grey/white and do nothing helpful. What you really need in the fog (or on an unlit back road in the woods) is low-intensity lights aimed down, a short distance away from your front bumper in addition to the normal headlights, which are aimed too high to illuminate the area right in front of you. In other words, you need fog lights.
As for the low beams, if there is enough fog to really need those fog lights, you won’t be able to see a car without it’s low beams on more than about 10 feet away whereas with the lowbeams you can see it far enough away that you can avoid hitting them at 30 MPH.

That said, why are HID head lights legal at all then? Seems to me that those xenon bulbs cause a lot more problems than any lights I’ve seen in somebodies bumper, especially since many SUVs place those white lasers at where a normal car driver’s eye level is.

phil196662's avatar

True, why are they available? the lights I was referring to are like long distance regular lights that are offered as an upgrade on new vehicles and are often mounted in the front spoiler. there are rectangle and turn on when the regular headlights are used and because of the brightness and distance often blind oncoming drivers. But Fog lights that are Low help in fog- Yes but adjusted incorrectly can be blinding as well.

jerv's avatar

@phil196662 I believe that the ones you are referring to are another example of why I personally feel that certain automakers are incompetent. The only car I have personally driven that had them was a Subaru Forester, and those were mounted less than a foot from the ground (in the bumper) and aimed low enough that there was a little bit of a dim band between the far edge of their beam and the near edge of the low-beams.

However, many of the “cool kidz” lights you see are aimed parallel to the low-beams and I see quite a few of them on SUVs which means that they are higher than the headlights on a car like mine.

It just shows how poor nutrition is in this country. See, when I was a kid, I ate my vegetables, so I have good enough night vision (thank you, vitamin A!) that I don’t need 1megawatt worth of headlights to see where I’m going, but in this fast-food nation some people need their HID high-beams at noon on a clear day!

phil196662's avatar

Very true! the Real lights that are good for seeing are for a Four-Wheel-drive and are right on the grill or on top of the roof- Only used if you totally know there is No One within 1,000 feet!

jerv's avatar

I’ve rarely seen roof-mounted lights, and of those I have seen, only one even had the bulbs uncovered, so they were there more for show than for illumination. That is true even of the unregistered mud-boggers some of my redneck buddies back in NH had. Grill/bumper-mounts are far more common.

phil196662's avatar

Then you have not seen My Truck, Four on the roof Uncovered and ready for that country road!

jerv's avatar

Just one more thing to get snagged on a tree and ripped off.
Then again, I took a Mazda 626 with bald tires up a driveway that the National Guard didn’t dare take their HMMWV (not one of those pansy-assed H2s ; the real deal). The Humvee may be better in plain mud, but it’s too tall to make it under low-lying trees and too wide for many things… like my old driveway.

phil196662's avatar

True, my old ones would have gotten smacked but these new Low Profile ones I got look sleek like a Police Lightbar across the front!

Sebulba's avatar

here in Greece it is illegal but no tickets are given to anyone who uses them during clear weather conditions. it is very annoying and many drivers here do that

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