Last Updated on April 6, 2023

Low visibility can make driving in fog a daunting experience, even for veteran drivers. It can sometimes become difficult to see other vehicles, pedestrians and road markings, which can of course increase the risk of accidents.

In this article we break down the dangers of driving in fog, and what you can do to reduce any anxiety you may have when it comes to driving in fog.

What is fog?

According to National GeographicFog is a cloud that touches the ground. Fog can be thin or thick, meaning people have difficulty seeing through it….even monuments like London Bridge….or the Golden Gate Bridge, in San Francisco, California, are almost impossible to see in thick fog.”

What can I do to make driving in fog easier?

What can I do to make driving in fog easier?

There are a number of tips that you can follow that will help you to drive safer in fog, they include:

  • Reduce your speed and increase your distance between the car in front, this will give you longer to react
  • If you really begin to struggle to see in front of you, find a safe place to pull over and park until it passes
  • Use your fog lights (if they’re fitted to your car), or your low beams. Avoid the use of high beam lights as they can dazzle other road users.

Rule 226 of 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”.

What are fog lights?

Unlike standard headlights, fog lights are designed to improve the driver’s visibility in foggy conditions. Fog lights work by cutting through the fog and illuminating the road underneath.

Your car may have a set of front and rear fog lights.

The front fog lights are usually a white or yellow light which tends to sit below the car headlights.

Rear fog lights are red, similar to brake lights, and they help drivers behind see you car a little easier.

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Does my car have fog lights?

Rear fog lights are a legal requirement on all cars, whereas front fog lights are often included in mid, to higher spec cars.

You can check your dashboard, steering wheel stalk or your car’s handbook to check if your car has front fog lights.

The symbols you’re looking for look like the below.

Car Dashboard Lights Control
Car Dashboard Lights Selector

When should I use my fog lights?

The Highway Code states that you must use headlights if you cannot see more than 100m in front of you. Likewise, you must turn your fog lights off when visibility improves to stop dazzling over drivers, or you could be challenged with a fine of £30 – a fine can also apply for not having your fog lights on when needed.

Remember to be aware of drivers not using fog lights, and don’t rely on automatic lights as these are intended to be light-sensitive, so may not change if it’s bright. If your car is fitted with automatic fog lights and you’re not sure if they’re turning on, you should check you vehicle’s handbook.

Can I use fog lights instead of my headlights?

No, your fog lights should never be in use if it is clear and should only be activated when you’re driving in fog. If your headlights break, you need to get them fixed as soon as possible.  

Can I drive with broken fog lights?

Front fog lights are not and therefore not all cars are fitted with them. As we know, rear fog lights are required by law, and if your rear fog light is broken you must get it fixed at your earliest opportunity.

We recommend checking your car regularly to ensure all lights are working as they should be.

Finally, we always recommend checking your local weather forecast before you set out on any journey.  

Need some extra practice?

Learning to drive in these conditions can be a challenge, but where you can it’s good to get experience in all conditions (if safe to do so). This is why our learner driver insurance does not have any curfews – so you can learn at a time that suits you.

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