Putting the spotlight on fog lamps

Fog lights in use on SUV

ILLUMINATING: Do you know how to switch your car’s fog lights on?

There has been a lot of debate in Open Road recently about fog lamps and when and where they should be used.

Fog lamps differ from driving lights and your vehicle’s high beam. They are designed to reflect a horizontal band of light across the front of the vehicle, and a special shield built inside the lamp prevents the beam from being projected upwards.

Back in the old days, it was recommended that the fog lamp be fitted below the vehicle’s front bumper. Because fog is thinner closest to the road, positioning fog lamps low to reflect ‘underneath’ the fog maximised their efficiency. At least that was the idea, until you damaged them on a gutter or by stones thrown up from other vehicles. The ideal positioning these days is just as much about aesthetics and value-adding as it is about lighting efficiency.

Now, fog lamps are a common sight on vehicles everywhere. As manufacturers across the board add extra features to their mid- and high-specced models, the proliferation of fog lamps (whether we need them or not) has become more widespread.

In NSW, it is illegal to use fog lamps where there are no adverse weather conditions such as fog. Note, though, that LED daytime running light (DRLs) are not considered fog lamps, though they often cast a stronger light than a typical fog lamp.

So why are we seeing an increasingly high proportion of vehicles driving around with illuminated fog lamps, in situations that clearly don’t warrant their use?

I will put my hand up and say that I have been one of those drivers on a couple of occasions recently, during the filming of NRMA Car Review videos. How? On the multi-function headlight switch fitted to each vehicle, there was an inner ring that, when rotated, turned on the fog lamps. I had inadvertently turned on the fog lamps when I flicked on the lights for the shot.

A quick scan of the owner’s handbook for both vehicles would have saved any grief. Many people are unaware that their light switch even has a ring that can turn on their fog lamps. To add insult to injury, when we later checked these two vehicles in the NRMA garage, we realised they both had small, green warning lamps in the instrument cluster, to alert the driver if the fog lamps were on.

Our tip is to check whether this warning lamp is lit up on the instrument panel along with the main headlight indicator lamp. If it is illuminated and you’re not driving through fog, switch it off, unless you want to cop a hefty fine!

Do you have any issues with fog lights? Let us know in the comments below.

Article by NRMA motoring expert Tim Pomroy and taken from Open Road.                   

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155 thoughts on “Putting the spotlight on fog lamps

  1. I am not sure what all the fuss is about fog lights. Surely being seen on the roads is better than not being seen especially in adverse conditions.
    Currently there are more stealth cars on the road than ever, they are dark coloured and failing to turn any light on at all in low light and adverse conditions.
    Heading out of Wagga Waggw towards Neranderra there is actually a sign that directs you to turn your lights on and be seen.
    If fog lights give a horizontal light that is aimed low what is the problem with them being turned on? More often than not drivers get dazzled by incorrectly adjusted low beam lights, but I don’t see a campaign to fix this problem.
    I agree that the rear fog light, especially on earlier model Hyundai Excels is very annoying when illuminated under normal conditions, however at least the driver has made an attempt to be seen.
    Is this another attempt by Government at revenue raising?
    The concentration of law enforcement on prevention of the use of fog lamps is ridiculous and will only cause more stealth vehocles to be on the road.

    • Bruce,
      If the concern is to be seen in low light conditions and not fog, then simply turning on your headlights will ensure both the front and rear of your car are suitably illuminated.

      As for being seen. I guess I could put powerful aircraft landing lights on the front of my car and in all probability I would always be seen, until the other driver suitably dazed by the light either drove into me or off the road, but it would be completely unnecessary. Much like fog lights are without fog.

      As for the concentration of enforcement. That is what the police are there for.

    • As said, these lights are not directed the same as a low beam light, causing more to shine in the eyes of other road users. Headlights are more than enough to be ‘seen’ with, fog lights are not necessary in good weather conditions.

      Adding to this, so many clown are fitting uprated globes or those crappy blue tint globes and DIY HID kits into these lights, making IT EVEN WORSE!

      They are mainly used by these idiots for a ‘cool factor’, which is completely pointless.

      • I agree with you Nick totally. My husband use to do it all the time, driving around with the fog lights on, and I always told him it was illegal. It wasn’t until he followed me home one night when I realised how annoying it was for the person driving in front. At times his lights really blinded me. He doesn’t drive with them turned on now. A lot of drivers, specially guys, like the look.

        • A lot of those guys you mention are young “macho” guys who follow the crowd. Probably driving four wheel drive trucks “daddy” bought them. Driving with beams and fog lights should be illegal if not needed.
          I’ve seen these boys drive in broad daylight with fog light, high beams and a light bar above the cab. The epitome of stupidity.

        • Spot on with your comments and observation re what a problem fog lights are to other drivers. As I do a LOT of night driving I am 1) amazed at how many drivers have their fog lights on and 2) I am fatigued because of the light from the fogs both as oncoming and following traffic. PS they also have them in during the day.

      • i agree with you about fog lights, well apart from them apparently being a hazard and blinding other drives as they are not, when fitted and adjusted correctly the beam is no where near as high physically ( or “shining in the eyes” as you said) as the low beam on a vehicle not to mention they are designed to cast a wide beam with a cut so the light is not cast into the trees but as low as possible which is where the fog is at its thinnest.
        when it comes to H.I.D (high intensity discharge) lighting do you understand that many late vehicles are fitted with them from the factory and they simply aren’t just a “cool factor” item as you say?
        and also, i’m not certain but i’m going to assume that you don’t know about how light and the eye works, so i will give you a light explanation – certain colours make it easier and faster for the eye to identify shapes, therefor its safer to have a light with the same wattage or output and a higher “k” or kelvin as it benefits the driver.
        so please before you call someone a “clown” or an “idiot” do your homework first, otherwise your the only one who looks like a clown.

        • And of course you would know that the eye automatically focuses on a light source.
          Which is why some cars ( and drivers ) have their headlights on in daytime in order to be more visible.
          Having your foglights on is simply a dipstick “look at me” action.

        • @Josh theres a lot more to automotive lighting than your incorrect theory on HID lights. Do some research lest it be you who is made out as a clown. Unless HID lights are fitted from factory I am yet to see a retrofit that is ADR approved and throws a beam that is acceptable. Also HID lights in any temperature above about 6000k have so much reflection off fog , dust and retro-reflective signs that they are just about useless. Fog lights should also be 35watt if white and 55 watt if amber.

    • Bruce, If you cant be see with just your headlights on putting your fog lights on would make no difference as you would have to be blind.
      Fog lights just add extra glare to the driving scene and make it very difficult for oncoming traffic to see anything like a pedestrian crossing the road in front of a car with fog lights on. Even worse in wet conditions. Driving with fog lights on in the metro area when it’s not foggy is illegal, hazardous and very inconsiderate to other road users.
      In fog the street lighting illuminates the road better than your headlights or fog lights.
      With good street lighting you can see the road better with your lights off as the street lighting illuminates the road and not the fog but headlights on low beam need to be on so you can be seen by other vehicles through the fog.
      Worst offenders are ute driver who you often see with headlights off and fog lights on. Double illegal and really dumb.

      • Clearly the best solution is to ban driving at night. People are always crying because they can’t see properly at night because other peoples lights are on. I mean they could just not look directly into oncoming traffics headlights and maybe look in front of themselves. But that would make too much sense. I say we turn off all street lights and close all roads as soon as the sun sets. If you work in the night then you have to catch a train. Or fly. Or taco.

    • I get what you mean Bruce. When driving in the Country I drive with my Headlights on during the day regardless of the weather. I remember my late father doing this when I was a kid and it was actively promoted by both the NRMA and Police. A silver or dark coloured car can blend into the road and surrounds quite easily where with its Headlights on you can see it coming from a distance especially when overtaking a slower car in. I remember when Volvo’s in Australia where released with their Parking Lights coming on when ever you turned the ignition on.

    • I find it difficult to concentrate when 2 sets of lights are coming at me after dark. If you want to be seen your normal lights are just as good or better than the fog lights. The fog lights just add to being dazzled by lights. I do have good eysight. I hope the police continue to monitor this.

    • I live in the country where there are very few street lights. I regularly use the Lakes Way on the mid north coast, a busy road but narrow and winding – driving home on a dark rainy winter’s night is terrifying when cars either come towards you or approach from the rear with both headlights and fog lights on – in these conditions this is as bad or worse than high beam.

    • Fog lamp switched on in clear night conditions are the single biggest menace that I face each day travelling to work. I cross several bridges and travel on a country road that is hilly and these fog lighst shine straight in your face. It is a load a rubbish to think they point downwards. Toyota Hiluxe utes now have them mounted next to the headlights. If motorists do not drive with windscreen wipers on when is is not raining then dont drive with fog lights on when it is not foggy. Surely that is not too difficult to work out.

    • Hi! Bruce, I am a DRIVER who is nearing 70 i also have good vision but those — fog lamps really upset my eyes, a lot more than the average headlamps in or out of adjustment

    • I was looking up the road one evening, waiting paitintly to pull out of a driveway onto 6 lane road. The conditions were thus, medium heavy rain, lots of glare and reflections from vehicles and streetlights, I saw two vehicles in approaching but as I had been waiting for some minutes to get a break in the traffic I judged that they were far enough away to pull out safely. I took a second look before pulling out and realised that it was not two vehicles in the distance but one close vehicle with fog lights. Because the vehicle approaching was dark, on a dark night I couldn’t see the shape of the car. The illusion nearly caused me to pull out in front of the vehicle. The vehicle was no more visible than if only it’s headlights had been on. The fog lights just added to the glare. Under those conditions I thought I was looking at two cars. That driver drove by not realising that what they thought was improving their visibility nearly caused a serious crash.

  2. Seems to me that you miss a critical point. Using fog lights in fog, you use them with parking not headlights; with headlights in serious fog you see a wall of white. The other serious consideration is to slow down. Instead on the F6 the request is to turn on hazard lights. So many drivers proceed at speed, flashers flashing, headlights blazing.

    You might have done well to turn that stalk a little further and discover that you had fog taillights too, brighter lights which serve the purpose of the recommended hazard flashers. Maybe they aren’t legal in Australia either…. Certainly their brightness backwards is inappropriate in general urban driving.

    Just to check though: doesn’t driving with headlights and fog or driving lights on at the same time boost testosterone?

    • Absolutely? It has been my understanding that unless the fog is thick enough to require switching to parking lights due to refected glare from your headlights at eye level, there is no point putting them on.
      As for the testosterone boost theory, yeah! – safely and practicality be damned, let’s get us some of that! ;)

  3. I wish the Police would police the rule as there are lots of drivers getting around at night with very fine weather with these lights blaring out at others and I and many find them distracting at night ,and yes I do have good eyesite so that is not the issue . I consider these lights dangerous when the weather is fine

    • Hear, hear Roger,
      It’s not so bad with sedans and utes, etc., but with the explosion of 4WD’s and SUV’s (the majority of which never go off-road) on our roads, we have a large group of “heroes” with a “look at me” attitude. These drivers don’t realise, or care, that all of the lights on the front of their vehicle are up to 18 inches or so, higher than those of a sedan, meaning that the glare of four lights, rather than two is in the driver’s eyes when they approach either in the opposite direction, or from behind (reflected from the rear-vision mirror). And yes, I also have good vision and don’t wear glasses – I can only imagine it would be worse for those who do. A crackdown on this behaviour is long overdue. I’d like to see NRMA take some action on this. It’s not revenue raising, nor are speed cameras. If you do the right thing and obey the law, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Enough said.

    • Yes me too.

      I think that actually fining people for driving on a clear night with their fog lights on would be a great “idiot tax”.

      Fog lights on some cars actually come on with the parking lights but go off again when the headlights come on. This feature should be mandated on all cars and trucks fitted with fog lights.

      Yes fog lights point down…..Straight into the eyes of an oncoming driver when the person with their fog lights on comes over a crest.

      We all need to start flashing oncoming drivers who insist on driving with their fog lights on in clear or rainy conditions. They might get the message that way.

      Some people say that driving with their fog lights on helps them to see. Well driving with high beam lights on helps me to see but I don’t do that when there are other cars in sight. It’s all a “stuff you I’m alright Jack” attitude towards other drivers.

  4. I see many cars with lots of front lights on – everything except the headlights!

    Are the switches foo complicated?

  5. In reply to Bruce. Most low beam and high beam are required to be angled downward, although there is some spread of light of course. Fog lights being horizontal, as you noted, are designed not to reflect light back at the driver in the fog, but when used when there isn’t any fog can dazzle on comings drivers due to the light angle. This get’s worse the higher they mounted, which is why there are ADRs for their correct placement. The dazzle from fog lamps is of course reduced when there is dense fog, as the distance the light shines is also reduced.
    The real thing is that we rarely have the conditions in Australia that warrant fog lights, say compared to UK, Europe and North America, and so cannot easily compare the two types of light beam (fog vs standard) in thick fog. Therefore most drivers do not have the knowledge or experience of the use of fog lamps.

    • come drive wagga to narrandera in winter as bruce im sure will agree there is plenty thick enough fog. less then 20m visibility some days

    • My car didn’t have fog lights fitted as standard and because of the amount of fog I tend to encounter late at night and earlier in the mornings I installed a pair onto my bullbar. My fog lights are mounted at the same physical level as my normal headlights so they are protected by my bulbar but I have them aimed down just below my low beam. I think the ADR requires them to be mounted no higher than the headlights which my installation satisfies. Being aftermarket fog lights they are also yellow, and I have a pilot light for them on my dashboard to remind me that they are on. They have made travelling in foggy conditions much safer. Where I used to have to slow to 30km/h or less in bad fog I can now safely travel at about 50km/h. Still a lot less than the posted speed limit but considerably faster than I used to be able to. And unfortunately avoiding driving when there is bad fog about is not always an option but as a firefighter I can be called out at any time.

  6. I don’t have as much of a problem with front fogs as I do with rear.

    The rear fogs are typically the brake light on one side illuminated.

    It’s a distraction due to the extra brightness but some cars that have both, make you think they are using the brakes. This can lead you to ignoring them and potentially causing an accident if they do brake suddenly.

    I’m not for revenue raising but I think the highway patrol cars could easily take a photo with their current setup, showing clear weather and the fog light on and send them warning letters followed by fines.

  7. I live in the Southern Highlands of NSW and frequently drive to and from Sydney and Canberra. At this time of year you can leave the Highlands and drive in and out of heavy fog patches and/or mist all the way to Campbelltown or Canberra. I leave my fog lights on as this is the safest option.

  8. It’s not usually the front fog lights which are the problem. Often the front fog lights operate before the rear red fog light(s) on the ‘ring’; they can improve your visibility to oncoming traffic which is driving towards a sunset or sunrise (as can simply using low beam).

    I find the rear red fog light(s) dazzling, especially at night, making it very difficult to see if a vehicle is braking or not – the added intensity of the brake light is insignificant. On a wet road surface the intensity of the reflection compounds the effect.

    The red spot light is usually the last position on the dial. The indicator panel has a green indicator for the front fog light, and an orange indicator for the rear fog light.

  9. The worst thing I find is when the rear red “fog” lights fitted to some cars are turned on – and left that way. In my opinion, these should be banned. Not only are they so bright that they are distracting to drive behind, they can also be confused with brake lights as well. At least with oncoming fog lights the car passes quickly; behind them in traffic, you can’t take your eyes off them.

  10. Rear fog lights are more of a menace that the front ones although both are distracting in fine conditions and particularly at night.
    In wet weather the rear fog light/s tend to reflect off the wet road surface and throw up a glare which is very distracting and potentially dangerous. I don’t know of anyone that has been stopped and booked by police for having them on in fine conditions.

  11. the use of fog lights is just about norm now. I believe the general driver wouldn’t have a clue what they are they just put them on. this practice should be stoped they are dazzling to oncoming drivers along with the added problem we have of higher vehicle’s with the position of their ordinary lights right at the eye level of the ordinary standard sedan. I believe their should be a campaign to explain the use of fog lights and also manufactures should redesign the level of the normal lights on high vehicle’s such a traffic hazard

  12. It appears that the glare from fog lights bothers some, and not others. I am unfortunately one of the people that does find fog light glare annoying. I don’t see the advantage of driving with them on when there is no fog. They throw a little extra light to the side, but perhaps if the drivers that feel they need them on have such poor night vision, or are not confident enough to drive with them off they shouldn’t drive at night or early morning.

    Fog lights aren’t meant to be used with headlights. As stated above they project a different beam. The police don’t seem to worry about it. What really annoys is following someone with a 20W rear fog light on down suburban toll roads on a clear night. It’s distracting enough to be a hazard.

  13. Inconsiderate people use their fog lamps in fine conditions. If they don’t know their vehicle they shouldn’t be driving.

  14. 1] what happened to “fog “lights with yellow beam / light .originally yellow
    was shown to produce a longer light due to the length of the light ray
    and thus a safer light
    2] given the advertising to drive with your headlights on [ police ] who is monitoring that maladjusted headlights are being fixed [ not the police ]
    i’m sure

  15. Have look at NSW road rules.Fog lights to be used only at fog or rain and only with park lights not any other lights.

  16. It’s absurd to say that because you can’t use fog lights (inappropriately) people will drive around without any lights at night.

    What next? Because you can’t go over the speed limit, people won’t drive at all!

  17. Why do Highway Patrol cars drive around all day & night with their fog lights on? One rule for us & one rule for them !!

      • Yep daytime running lights are supposed to have 10 watt globes vs fog lights with 35 watt for white and 55 for amber. I can’t see how the majority of the “fog” lights on newer cars are even legal.

  18. It annoys me that so many people use fog lights all the time .I live in casino N.S.W . Driving at night it is very distracting having 4 lights coming at me . Drivers PLEASE have some common sense & courtesy – THANK YOU !!!

  19. As a traveller with usually a 21ft caravan behind,i feel safer with the low mounted
    “fog” lights illuminated during day time hours in conjunction with parking lights on both the towing vehicle and also the caravan.Normal headlights,on low beam during the
    day seem too bright,where the “fog”lights on my Toyota Prado do the job very well
    without any excessive light shining into oncoming drivers eyes.Maybe,some other
    vehicles with higher mounted lights could cause a problem,but my lights are quite
    low and even at night time,are not very useful,so day time use is more beneficial to all.

  20. I thoroughly agree being seen is paramount in all and any driving situation, policing and serious fines, would be better redirected to drivers of vehicles not using common sense, logic and lights in bad conditions. I would much prefer to have the fog light rules adjusted for driver safety use, renamed to “Vision Assistance Lamps”; as alternative visibility lighting, for those who do not have day lights fitted on their cars, Alternatively, low light sensors be fitted to every vehicle, to automatically come on upon turning on your ignition. I find the worse offenders in bad conditions happen to drive dark colored vehicles like black, navy & charcoal grey, all of which are extremely difficult to define against grey bitumen in grey, dark, foggy or rainy conditions.

    Another huge concern, are led “blue/white” headlights, that blaze and blind oncoming driver eyes.. Government, Road Safety Departments, Police and Roads & Maritime Services, would be better uniforming the code of light globe and strength required to drive on federal roads, as it is a NATIONAL problem. Together with uniforming the type of number plates, the confusion now caused is ridiculous. I’m all for individualism, but we cannot take road safety seriously enough, preventing the death of any person would be worth it.

    I’ve also heard there is a Chubb warning, for people not to flash other drivers who have not turned on headlights, as it is an “initiation test” with dire ramifications to the driver who flashes! Is this an urban myth or reality??

  21. What these drivers forget, in particular the higher sitting four wheel drive vehicles (my car is a small sedan) is that from the drivers seat one is not only hit with the normal headlights in ones rear view mirror and side mirrors but also the bright fog/driving lights. There is no need to use fog lights unless the conditions require them, normal headlights should be enough in normal conditions. I for one am sick and tired of being blinded by four lights in my mirrors and also head on and I wish the police would enforce this more, they would certainly raise a lot of revenue out of it and reduce a lot of frustration not only experienced by myself but other road users who somehow manage to drive around safely without having to use these lights illegally.

  22. Maybe it’s not so much for lights as “driving type” lights that get up everyone’s nose, including mine.

    I DETEST the clowns who drive around with driving lights on when it is plainly illegal (unless they are more than 200 metres I think it is from an oncoming car).

    I really think these people either think it’s cool or want to annoy people. Pity the police can’t have a camera mounted in patrol cars and send a fine through the mail.

    • I have no issue with “driving lights” which go out when you select low beam, lots of cars have poor high beam and can use some help lighting the distance on country roads,
      But I HATE people driving around every night showing off their “free factory fitted fog lights” which stay on even when you’re on low beam and cars are passing the other way. I hop you all get flashed by every car you pass.

  23. I’m with you, Ron. In fine conditions it can be very annoying for oncoming drivers – yes, they do create unnecessary glare compared with low beam or compliant daytime running lights, and the hi intensity rear light is very annoying and distracting.

    Someone driving an unfamiliar vehicle can be forgiven, but if you are driving your own car and don’t know the fog lights are on, then you need to get a bit more focused on the task of driving. Too many people see their vehicle simply as something that gets them from A to B in the most comfortable and entertaining way possible. This morning I even saw a woman brushing her teeth as she wended her way through traffic (only occasionally indicating). Driving is a task that deserves attention.

  24. I wish the police enforced fines on people who don’t turn on their headlights at night. The number of people who drive around, without their lights on, is amazing. I can’t imagine what they would see on the instrument display for checking their speed- it’d be in total darkness. Maybe they don’t need to know? It happens a lot around Epping, Carlingford and Eastwood, in Sydney, for some reason.

    • Often cars, mine included, run their instrument panel lights when the ignition is on, so drivers can be unaware they haven’t turned headlights on – a good case for automatic lights, as is becoming popular these days.

      I find fog lights useful when negotiating suburban street corners, where often the street light is on the ‘wrong’ side of the intersection, and it’s difficult to pick just where the kerb turns. Having light so close to the vehicle makes this easier (I believe!).

        • Now John, nobody ‘admitted’ he cant (sic) negotiate a corner in the dark without a foglight. The expression used was …’find foglights useful’. I use them only when there are no other vehicles around.

          BTW I have 6/6 vision (officially tested) and with bionic eyes (cataracts replaced with intra ocular lens), so night vision is good.

      • I agree with your practice of using the fog lights to improve visibility when turning. I used to do a similar thing with the high/low beam on a motorbike for the same reason. Low beam when turning left, high beam (if safe and needed) when turning right.

        My car (a VZ Commodore) has an option of automatic headlights on the headlight switch, but I usually leave my headlights on all the time anyway as the car will turn them on and off with the ignition.

        • The fog lights are my vehicle’s DRLs, and come on with the ignition. I leave the light switch on Auto, which turns off the fog lights when it turns on the headlights as it gets dark. When the headlights are on, the fog lights must be turned on (and then off) manually. I use the fog lights when driving through fog (a frequent occurrence in winter in Canberra). However, I also use the foggies to complement the low beam, because they spread light low and wide – perfect for illuminating kangaroos by the roadside (a frequent occurrence in summer in Canberra.) I do turn them off when driving in residential areas, unless the roos are munching on the nature strips.

  25. BINGO!

    You’ve got my attention. It’s annoying when you’re travelling at night and 4 lights come towards you. It doesn’t matter whether they point up, down or horizontal they are still a bright light source looking straight at you. Vehicles can be seen if their headlights are on so that removes the “let’s be seen” argument. When the headlights are on in clear weather the fog lights are of little advantage to the driver but are a big annoyance to oncoming traffic. If a vehicle is following you with all lights blazing then that is annoying in the rear view mirror as well. In the daytime on regional roads I must admit that they help oncoming drivers to see vehicles approaching from a distance. In my view however in most instances these lights are used purely for “POSER” value. In years gone by they were standard on a lot of European vehicles that were a little up the price scale. If you’re driving a budget model then it doesn’t look any cooler or even raise your tax bracket by merely showing off the rusty old Corolla, Pulsar or “dunny door” with a couple of annoying low lights. (Many drivers also load them with over rated bulbs and I haven’t heard of anyone being booked for using them so until the police start to react I suppose that we will keep seeing their misuse for some time to come)

    Use them for what they were designed for “FOG LIGHTS”.

  26. The big problem I have with these driving (fog) lights on is with the owners of the vehicle have modified the light globe in these lights and make them much higher wattage than is supposed to be used and so when you meet them on the highway away from city lights then you are blinded by these “clowns” who modify the lights. My wife has commented about the driving lights of some oncoming vehicles being much brighter than many other vehicles. The inspection of vehicles at registration time should include the brightness and throw of light so that it is not projected upward when switched on. The driving lights should also be automatically switched OFF when low beam is ON.

  27. day time running lights are good –but only on recent models/makes-daytime driving on low beam for some vehicles fitted with top of the range headlights even on low beam dazzle oncoming drivers–so meantime parkers are insufficient on said vehicles–so turn on fog lights which don’t dazzle but are brighter than parkers and less obtrusive than top range low beam headlights during day time driving… leads to a quandary ? be seen or not –my money “be seen” and from the side as well for approaching turning vehicle’s –but when in built up areas switch off ! simple.. however living in tablelands nsw –we do have significant misty weather like last 4 days and they (fog ) lights do the job they are designed for ..but agree at night switch off fog lights when approaching vehicles as agree the barrage of headlights and fog lights are to much together — now there is a further case for their use –I travel the Hwy frequently and at night and fog lights give me an edge for flying kangaroos from the table drains crossing my bows –additionally use shoo roo’s on bonnet and have found over the yrs. that the combination of fog lights and shoo roo’s have many times saved repair bills.. so thinking drivers can and are responsible so common-sense/education in the use of fog lights is what’s needed.. in traffic switch off.

  28. The drivers that have these lights on at night time should be fined as they are a definite hazard when driving towards them, they are very blinding and the idiot drivers do not realise they have them on. A definite hazard, I absolutely hate them.

  29. Why don’t the police and law makers look at the new cars especially the imported SUV’s like the BMW X5 and Audi SUV’s and some sedan’s
    That have the new Automotive HID may be called “xenon headlamps”.
    Just come in contact with a vehicle driving on a country bumpy road and you will know what I mean.
    BAN THEM!!!!

  30. What would be good to see is the police actually getting the chance to police rather than it always being a revenue exercise governments push road safety. But when was the last time you heard of someone being pulled over & defect or warned over blown headlights, taillights etc. It is a damn joke. Yes forward & rearward fog-lights can be a damn pain when people use them in normal driving condition’s, maybe they should be pulled over & given warnings by our local friendly police.

  31. Can’t see why you should be penalised for trying to be seen. Better to police those cars (often white or silver) that drive in fog without any lights, or with only park lights which are next to useless for being seen.

  32. As stated, vehicle familiarisation is the key.

    Some vehicles, the instrument lights are on all the time, and there is an extra light on the dash (usually next to the high beam light) for the low beam lights.

    Every vehicle I have driven with fog lights has had a light somewhere on the dash for them, either on the switch, or near the high beam light on the instrument display.

    The author of the article consulted the owners manual to find out how the fog lights were operated on whatever vehicle they were driving.

    It seems to me there needs to be more education on appropriate use of lights for different conditions, and that lights enable you to be seen, as well as to see…..

  33. I purchased my first new car in 1975. It had a headlight switch that included fog lights when turned backwards. You could never have both fog lights and headlights on together which is the way it should be. A simple relay should be fitted to all current cars with fog lights to kill the headlights when the fog lights are turned on so that nobody can accidentally drive with both on. The worst thing about them is that at night oncoming traffic gets a double dose of headlights especially when the offending fog lights are cresting a hill.
    My newest car (a Honda Civic) supposedly has fog lights but they don’t work at all well and are positively dangerous to drive without the headlights on. I suspect that they are really daytime running lights. The light they cast only illuminates the gutters and kerbs and not the road ahead at all.
    Proper fog lights used to aim low and far and penetrate under the fog at ground level to pick out the centre line and guide posts. Normal low beam lights being higher reflect off the fog particles and cause glare that is hard to see though. The best fog lights were the ones that cast a percentage of yellow light that did not create as much glare. Bruce, I agree that lights on and be seen is a good idea but that does not mean more than two lights at once towards oncoming traffic even in daytime. My vote is a $20 relay fitted to every car to end the problem.

  34. I for one have always driven with my headlights on so I can be seen. I have always had driving lights mounted on my vehicles, from rally cars in my youth to the 4WD I currently drive. These are there to be used under the appropriate conditions and with the consideration of other road users and legal requirements in mind. These have been added to my vehicles in a considered way for the conditions and environments they are needed. They have the appropriate power and spread of light for my needs. They are kept adjusted in relation to the attitude of the vehicle to optimize their output. Now having said all of that my understanding is that legally you can only have two forward face facing lights on with on coming trafic. This means if you have fog lights on your headlights should be extinguished. This makes sense to me because if your correctly adjusted fog lights are projecting the light low to the ground, if your headlights were also on the light from those would be reflecting back from the fog negating any benefit from the fog lights. That is the practical side of their proper use. If car drivers don’t get it then it’s their loss.
    My beef is having a wall of light coming at me in good conditions with these drivers not only having a disregard to the rules of the road but showing no regard to their fellow road users. This is compounded with so many of these lights being poorly aligned. Add a wet road to the equation and it can be extremely dangerous. I don’t get it that these people don’t realise what they are doing can be so inappropriate when they are confronted with other cars configured the same as theirs. What does it take to educate drivers in relation these sorts of issues. If the cops enforce the rules they are accused of revenue raising. Besides any legal requirements the use of additional lights is all about common sense which sadly is becoming far less common :(((

  35. One point that seems to have been overlooked by all in this debate is that fog lights create a bright pool of light immediately in front of the vehicle but not extending very far ahead which is fine in fog when one should be driving slowly anyway. The problem is that even at normal urban speeds, 50 to say 80 km/h depending on where you are, this bright pool both draws the driver’s eyes to concentrate on an shorter distance in front of the car and, by causing the pupils to contract, reduces the driver’s ability to see objects outside of that pool that are illuminated only by the headlights and ambient lights thus increasing the danger when dark objects, such as pedestrians in darkish clothes, are on the road. It can be hard enough to spot these things when driving on low beam anyway.
    An issue that thankfully seems to have largely gone away but was common when fog lights were first being fitted as standard equipment was that of maladjusted fog lights which projected their beams upwards and dazzled oncoming drivers.
    I have coined a term for drivers who use their fog lights when not necessary. that term is “Fog wits.”

  36. Fog lights can be useful, but if used in daylight when no fog exists, they are a complete hazard. Not only can they be ‘painful’ to oncoming drivers but they can also cause pedestrians to avoid looking at the traffic. Vehicles mounted higher like the common 4-wheel drives are often the most offensive. Headlights should be used in dim weather conditions – but please avoid the fog lights!

  37. Since how often does Australia have fogs……..there are certain cultures and age groups who drive with their fog lights on, need to be noticed. I put my lights full on to let them know my disgust…these lights are a pain when the vehicle is behind you

    • Australia does get a lot of fog if you live in the country and have early morning starts. In fact just last week there was massive fog as I approached Lithgow at 4am. Australia gets a lot of fog.

      I don’t have fog lights, but I think they have no place in the cities. I used to live at Newcastle and in the 25 odd years I lived there I can only remember once or twice where it was that bad that I could barely see 2 meters in front of me, out here in the country however I see it quite regularly.

      I am more concerned of those really bright headlights, they are way to bright and even on low beam blind me even when I am looking at the side of the road. Hell even in the country high beams sometimes aren’t necessary when you have lights that bright.

  38. Are we getting a little over sensitive with respect to using fog lights during the day?
    Is it illegal to drive during the day in the city or on our highways with LED running lights, parking lights or headlights turned on?
    I am a regular driver along the Hume and King’s highways. I would much rather have my fellow road users being easily seen.
    I may even suggest that the argument by some that fog lights dazzle oncoming drivers is more emotive that real. What was the old slogan…..Be Seen, Be Safe.
    Lets take a deep breath and relax a little. Our time would be better spent focusing on real issues such as improving dangerous driving, or being courteous and respectfully on the roads, improving our automotive manufacturing industry, improving the state of our roads, etc.

    • Being seen also means pedestrians should be seen but it’s very hard to see a pedestrian crossing the road ahead of you when there is an oncoming vehicle behind them with fog lights blazing away or do you think we should put bright lights on the pedestrians too so they can be seen? Fog lights are a hazard as they introduce unneeded glare and make it hard to see beyond the vehicle with them illuminated.

  39. I think there are bigger issues at stake than worrying about people trying to be cool driving with fog lights on. I have noticed lately that overall driving behaviour is getting worse. Especially on roundabouts and people not indicating. It should be mandatory that headlights switch on automatically with all new cars sold. My late model car has fog lights but no rotating ring. They are difficult to turn on by mistake as one needs to pull the switch out. So no excuses there….. I don’t use them but I drive to the rules using other lights etc when required.

  40. I can’t see a problem with fog lights being on during the day as it can be raised a sa saefty issue- after all for many earlier models, Volvo left the parking lights on vehicles in use all the time when on the road! Purely as a safety issue! Yes, I know the ‘trendies’ like to use them but just stop and think- lights on during the day do tend to highlight your vehicle to on coming traffic- that’s why motorcycylists use themn at ON also!

  41. While I don’t use them because of the law in NSW I believe factory fitted fog lights are safer for use in any conditions than low beam. The light is softer, lower,
    less of distraction to approaching motorist and in combination with parking lights
    allows your car to be seen easily.
    The stupid NSW law was created in envy from when only expensive cars had fog lights. Being seen and safe should be the priority.

  42. Yes I find the fog lights quite annoying & distracting especially in fine weather conditions in well lit up areas. It needs to be policed better.

  43. Main issue I see is cars without lights or only with parking lights on. Parking lights should not be able to be on when the car is moving as they are useless and at night give a false indication of how far away the approaching car is.
    With todays technology in cars it would be easy to switch lights on automatically and not allow parking lights to be on by them selves while the car is moving.
    A similar thing could be possibly done with fog lights by using sensors to detect fog.
    Come-on you manufacturers put some effort into more basic safety.

  44. As a driver who does a lot of county driving I often put my factory fitted “Driving lights” on in daylight or fine conditions as well as my headlights. I see no reason why this should be illegal as I would rather be seen than wiped out by another car or truck. This is especially true when driving on notoriously bad stretches of road when there have been a lot of head on collisions or where the road itself is badly designed , maintained or covered by trees causing low light visibility even in sunny conditions,eg Bolong Road between Gerrigong and Nowra. As a motorcycle rider as well why do all motorcycles have their headlights on all the time as a mandatory rule yet car drivers do not? Surely from a safety perspective the more visibility of yourself to other drivers the better and with properly aligned lights there should be no dazzling effect at all. If the government were serious about road safety the “lights on” for cars should be mandatory same as motorcycles. Or is this just another revenue raiser!

    • It’s lovely to hear your opinion of why it shouldn’t be illegal. The fact is driving/fog light use in fine weather IS illegal, they’re not designed for this purpose. That’s what your headlights are for, use those in fine weather!

  45. In regional and country areas where there are no street lights I find it far more beneficial to my view of the road to have low beams and fog lights on. The low angle of the fog lights illuminates small animals and potholes much better than high beams which are aimed high. I don’t think there is any problem with factory-fitted fog lights, rather it is the accessory lights that are incorrectly mounted and/or aimed that cause dazzling beams. Maybe these should be checked at rego time. During daylight you can see foglights easily, headlights can dazzle and I see quite a few drivers with high beams on, probably accidentally, but still very dazzling. The high beam indicator is often blue and hard to see in daylight. The police should have the right to exercise discretion as to whether fog lights are dazzling or not. Has anyone been booked for using high beams in daylight?

    • I find that the country roads out here are closer to dirt roads than sealed roads. I think a lot of city drivers have no idea how bad roads can be in the country. I never did until I moved away from a major city. I think in the country some exceptions could be made.

      However I see in the city there is no excuse. They have street lights everywhere (which illuminate the little fog they get in winter), their roads are a lot safer and the speed limits often rarely pass 80km. I think in cities if you have your fog lights on in anything other than very thick fog you should be fined, but once you leave the built up areas you can use them if needed.

  46. As someone who works in the Lighting industry, it frustrates me when I see all these people driving with their fog lights on. As mentioned in the article, many people have no idea they are on, yet many other deliberately drive with them on, claiming it makes them more visible, as I like to call them ‘fog light F-wits’.
    I like to remind these F-wits by flashing my fog lights at them. It’s illegal to flash your head lights, but nothing is mentioned about flashing fog lights.

    Some info from the ADR & NSW Road Rules:

    NSW ROAD RULES 2008 – REG 218-1
    The driver of a vehicle must not:
    (a) use any fog light fitted to the vehicle unless the driver is driving in fog, mist or under other atmospheric conditions that restrict visibility.

    John, I was under the same impression as you. REG 217 used to state that head lights had to be turned off when fog lights were illuminated. It appears this Regulation has now been removed.

    ROAD RULES 2008 – REG 219
    Lights not to be used to dazzle other road users.
    A driver must not use, or allow to be used, any light fitted to or in the driver’s vehicle to dazzle, or in a way that is likely to dazzle, another road user.
    Fine = $99 + 1 Demerit Point.

    The ADR states that beam should not be throw more than 1m above the ground at 25m in front of the light source, or be no higher then the level of the light source at 8m in front. How many vehicles would fail if this was tested?

    Neil, Fog lights can be white or a selective yellow. and may come with standard or gas discharge lamps (HID), or LEDs.

  47. I reside just outside Canberra and deal with fog most weeks from April through to October on the way to work and back again. I go through foggy patches, then perhaps clear conditions, followed by fog Etc. I would be quite annoyed to be booked for try to improve my safety on such occasions. Obviously if there is no adverse weather then I don’t use them but they exist for a reason.

  48. It would be good to get some input from professional drivers and truck drivers that frequently use Mt Ousley whilst it is shrouded in fog. It would be difficult for them in that area without fog lights.

  49. I would like to see more publicity about the illegality of using fog lights in fine weather, especially at night. I find fog lights at night in fine weather quite distracting and I’m glad it’s illegal. I don’t care whether it’s revenue raising or not, fine more drivers who do this!

  50. When driving in the Country I drive with my Headlights on during the day regardless of the weather. I remember my late father doing this when I was a kid and it was actively promoted by both the NRMA and Police. A silver or dark coloured car can blend into the road and surrounds quite easily where with its Headlights on you can see it coming from a distance especially when overtaking a slower car in. I would also rather have my lights on so an oncoming car can see me especially if they are passing a slower car on the wrong side of the road out in the country. May be less Head On Accidents. I remember when Volvo’s in Australia where released with their Parking Lights coming on when ever you turned the ignition on.

    • Hi Greg – Volvo introduced day notice lamps because of poor visibility in some European countries, before releasing them on their 200-series cars in Oz in 1976. For reasons best known to Volvo, they dropped the practice in the early 1990′s (correct me if I’m wrong with that date).

      The lamps were actually equivalent to stop lamps in power – 21watts from memory. For my money, they were excellent, but the smallest split in the covering lens, let in cold air, which soon took out the bulb. But that was a small price to pay, considering the way the lights made other drivers aware of your vehicle’s presence. My first Volvo, a 1970 144 was green in colour, making ‘headlights-on’ mandatory whilst driving in the country, to avoid cars coming at you on the wrong side of the road, especially with trees on each side of the road. A later 244 had day notice lamps which let other drivers know it was approaching.

      I believe that today’s led day running lights are too bright.

  51. It is illegal to be driving with your fog lights on in normal conditions. We have to realise that we are now having an aging population and with that, our eyes do not function with the same clarity as in our younger days. There are more glare problems suffered and with the extra lights from oncoming traffic it does cause serious issues. The porliferation of SUV’s, which are already at a higher level than a sedan causes the most problems as the lights are consequently at a higher level. Some areas in Sydney have roads which are not as well lit due to trees or insufficient street lights and it is in these situations that more problems are encountered. There is nothing worse than when a SUV with all lights blazing comes over the crest and blinding you. I wonder how many accidents or near misses have occured because of this. Education is not going to help as it is “cool” to have your fog lights on. Enforce the rule

  52. I live in a country area which can get misty/foggy. I work some nights and most often on my night time returns home on a regional highway cars in the opposite direction have both their headlights and fog lights on when there isn’t any fog/mist. Sometimes they are so bright they are blinding and confusing as to what is coming towards me and whether they have their high beams on. To date i have not known or seen anyone being booked for this.

  53. As an interstate truckie, there are three problems with fog lights being used in the wrong conditions.
    First is the glare at night from a light that is meant to travel low along the road and each time you hit a bump or go over a dip, it is like being flashed.
    Second is the problem when you are approaching another vehicle on a crest and you see them dip (hopefully BEFORE they blind you) you look to see where they are on the road and then the fog lights blind you as you breach the crest, so with a closing speed of 200kph on the highway, you blind the other vehicle with only 20cm of white paint to protect you.
    Thrid is the level of reflection you get from a wet road with fog lights illuminated and it can blind. Rear fog lights can “mask” brake lights as well.
    And worst of all is the 4wd, ute or caravan/trailer tower who puts his fog lights on for whatever reason and simply does not understand it lifts the front of the car and simply multiplies all the problems listed above.
    I do 4000 kilometres each week, more than half at night and it is bad enough with those who will not dip their lights before crests, before they blind you or on divided roads etc and we are all human and sometimes make mistakes, but there needs to be brighter dash lights to inform a driver his partner had the fog lights on last night so they will be turned off, better education of the issues and better policing. The law applies in all three eastern states, but needs to be in fog, not inclement weather which is too wide. Please look at “Fog Lights can be an issue” under Road Safety on my website http://www.truckright.com.au and I would welcome any comments. Thanks Rod.

  54. Too many people don’t care that they are poor/Bad drivers! Take a lot more pride in being a good/excellent driver & obey the laws – Fog lights are for fog & not for show off/don’t care use!

  55. As a police officer of 25 years and 17 odd in Highway Patrol, I am sick and tired of telling drivers (usually at RBT) to turn their fog lights off when conditions dont warrant their use, as it has seemingly had no effect. A huge percentage didnt even know they had fog lights on/or that they even had them at all, or where the switch is to turn them off. Many seem to have had them turned on by the dealer when they have picked up their new car and thats the way they have stayed until I have spoken to them some years later! Police in general have been quite lenient in dealing with this problem for a number of years, and I suppose this is a consequence of their slow introduction as standard equipment in mainstream cars, and a need to look for/at more serious things. What however was an uncommon sight has now mushroomed into a situation where I would say around 30% of vehicles I see on Sydney roads at night has them on in clear conditions, and about 5% being buffoons who have their fog lights on but NO headlights.
    Now a good percentage of cars fog lights are of low power and not a bother, but a sizeable percentage have fog lights of such intensity, they are extremely blinding. The situation gets even worse when approaching one of these cars as it is cresting a hill or has been involved in a collision causing the fog lights to become misadjusted. This is quite common, with seemingly no emphasis on their correct alignment during accident repair unlike normal headlights.
    Unfortunately, telling motorists to turn their fog lights off and educating them about how they work (and that they arent a substitute for normal headlights) just hasnt had any effect, and I am the worst person in the world if I issue a $99 ticket now for them, but still spent 10 minutes with each person giving them a roadside “101″ on how fog lights work, how headlights work and why they are one of the top 3 gripes of other road users in a vain hope that they might understand why they are getting a ticket (and hopefully not thought of as the worst possible person in the world). What is one supposed to do in my position when people dont take the responsibility and time to understand all the features, switches and controls in their car and understand why fog lights are called such for a reason? By giving out tickets, I hope at the very least one driver might talk to others about the nasty policeman who gave him/her a ticket for the trivial offence of having their fog lights on. This might at least have some effect in spreading the word more than the breath I am wasted in the past telling people. By all means one should turn them on in fog or conditions of reduced visibility, but if drivers leave them on, its their fault if they recieve a ticket, not mine, and young driver, they dont make your car look cool for crying out loud!
    I think of a comment made by the late Peter Wherritt of Australian drivers, to the effect of stating that too many drivers here let the cars drive them, and not the other way round….

    • Hi David – Good on you for trying to educate people – but, speaking for myself, I think you and your colleagues MUST issue tickets for any flagrant offences – including fog light offences – and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. Although there is a vocal minority who accuse police of revenue raising, and probably want to be allowed to write their own rule book, I suspect the “silent majority” would agree with me that rule breakers SHOULD be fined, and the way to avoid fines is to obey the rules. Many of us disagree with one or other road rule (as illustrated in this debate) but imagine the chaos if everyone was allowed to pick and choose which rules to follow! We all have an obligation to follow the rules (and not just the road rules). Beyond that, if individuals want to see rules get changed they should take an interest in how the rules get written and look for opportunities to participate / comment – or even mount a campaign!
      Hopefully this debate will help NRMA crystallise at least some road users opinions, as input to future rule revisions.

    • Totally agree and would add that on a road with good street lighting fog lights are not as good at illuminating the road ahead as the street lights are. So why use them? Vehicles with fog lights on and headlights off are usually drivers of utes in immaculate condition that have never had tools in the back because the tool is in the drivers seat.
      As McGarrett said “Book em Davo”

      • Sorry, Graham, old Steve McGarrett actually said in the original series “Book ‘em Danno”, to Detective Sergeant Daniel Williams

  56. I find the horizontal beam on the new fog lamps gives excellent coverage on the verge, especially on secondary roads outside of built-up areas, so that the eyes/shapes of kangaroos and other animals can be detected. Driving with them luminated at night is not the worst thing a driver can do. The authorities should consider the driving conditions and more important breaches of road rules in their policing/revenue raising endeavours.

  57. If conditions are that bad that you need foglights then you don’t need headlights. They should not be able to be used together. If headlights were deemed no good in fog, thus the need for foglights, then why have them on! They are very reflective on wet roads and nearly blind oncoming drivers. This problem was obvious a long time ago, yet manufacturers and the government still continue to allow this to happen.When has a fog been that bad in Australia that you need fog lights? You drive to suit the conditions.Then you get the posers that drive around with them on during the day. These are like the people that think you have got to give way to the right on roundabouts! Driving standards have decreased rapidly in the last few years. I blame the government for the lack of educational and advertising campaigns that brings on this behaviour. The buck stops with you Barry!

    • When has a fog been that bad in Australia that you need fog lights?

      In the city I would agree with you, I live near Lithgow, on the west side of the blue mountains and most of the year we have fog in the early morning and late night. During the day they aren’t needed for fog, bit at night they can help on those roads where you can barely see 3 meters in front of you.

      I find it rather alarming the amount of people on here thinking Australia rarely gets fog. I suggest you do some travelling at night in country areas away from the major cities.

      However not to be mistaken I agree that fog lights are mostly used by drivers when they aren’t required. For the average driver in the city they should never need to use them. In the country really only at night or early morning. Certainly neither should use them during the day.

      • I live in Katoomba and even in summer there are nights where the mist can be very thick. There have been times here during daylight hours that visibility has been less than ten metres. It can be worse at night.
        The first time I drove through fog from Leura home along Cliff Drive was scary. Cliff Road winds and is not lit at all along much of its length. It was difficult to see the centre line. That is why I am considering buying foglights.

  58. I obey the rules and never turn my fog lights on except in inclement weather. Having said that, I have rarely been subjected to excessive glare from fog lights on other vehicles. I dont think they are the problem (besides perhaps the testosterone problem).

    Mostly, I am annoyed by misaligned low beams streaming through my rear view mirror. And more often than not the offender isn’t driving a SUV, but a sedan or hatch. And there seem to be more and more of them on the road now. I think these cars need to be pulled over and cautioned by the police more than those that use their fog lights in clear weather. Or better still, when cars are serviced it should be standard practice to check the headlight alignment and adjust accordingly.

    One of the reasons I bought a SUV a couple of years ago was so that I would have a higher driving position and not be subjected to these bright lights as much. Maybe other people are moving to SUVs for the same reason.

  59. Fog lights are not the only problem, I’m tired of those so called Day Time Running Lights. They are usually too bright, aimed high or to the right so they blind you & because they are low under the bumper, they cause extra glair when it is raining because they reflect off the wet road surface.

    Even worse when you meet one of these idiots on the crest of a hill with these lights on and they shine directly into your face. I feel these lights should be banned altogether because they do not add to safety, they are dangerous. There has been many a time that I have come close to running off the road on a rainy night because I have been blinded by some idiot with these lights on.

  60. Consensus on reading lots of the posts.
    *Headlights & driving lights NEED to be adjusted correctly.
    *Bookem if they aren’t legal.

    I have them fitted standard, Isuzu ,they don’t come on unless you turn them on BUT only with headlights are on. They are adjusted properly.
    Check out the most annoying lights – FORD V6 & V8′s, &some Subaru WRX’s.

  61. When I purchased my car, the salesman actually pointed out that he thought I would be safer driving with fogs on – when I pointed out that this was an offence, he stated that “maybe, but no-one worries about it!”

    I often travel throughout the state and rarely find that fog lights are needed, but are a great asset in peasoupers (which is the only time I’d switch them on). I do use headlights on when on open roads in rural areas irrespective of day or night.

    Back in Sydney (where I still do most of my driving) my very slight cataracts give me extreme grief when some inconsiderate driver comes over a crest with their fog lamps on (especially in a drizzle with the added road reflections), and around the City streets I have noticed many cabs and even the odd police car drive with the fogs on.

    Anyone who carries out this most offensive practice needs to be penalised yet (as many other thought to be minor issues such as cyclists without helmets) are observably ignored by those who we rely upon to enforce the law.

    Some years ago, the Police were required to enforce or at least caution and report any observed offence. It appears that the Police now have entirely too much discretion.

    We see RTA motorway signs warning about “Police are targeting speeding” or “seat belts”, but rarely do we see notices about “fog lights”, etc.

  62. To backup David the police officer (above).
    I lived in Belgium for a few years and drove in European fog conditions.
    Imagine this: in heavy winter fog at daytime it was impossible to read an illuminated road sign 6M away without stopping and walking to the sign.
    Traffic drove at a crawl in pea-soup fog because its near impossible to see the glow of the rear foglight of the car ahead of you unless its within 5 or 6Metres.
    The European road rules are explicit and are strictly enforced: use your rear fog lights only in fog. If the highway police catch you using the rear fog light when there is no fog, the fine is so hefty you will never make that mistake again. Ditto for not using the rear fog light (which is much brighter than brake lights) when driving in fog. I remember driving late at night from Luxembourg to Brussels on a 130km/h motorway and watching the traffic ahead switching their rear fog lights on an off as they drove through light fog banks. Rules are rules, light fog is still fog, fines apply.
    Frankly, motorists and police in Australia are too laid back for everybody’s safety. Australian road rules should be aligned with say, Europe.
    The comment above referring to the old Hyundai Excel is correct: I had a friend who bought one and the dealer said to use the rear fog light as a reversing light.
    As for 4WD lights; I agree with comments regarding their height relative to small vehicles, however they comply with ADR design rules otherwise they couldn’t be registered. I bought a Prado and took it back to the dealer for a check as I felt the lights were set “too high” but apparently the lights were correct.

  63. Too many posers think the fog lights are cool and turn them on to say look at me. That said I don’t find oncoming cars with fog lamps on cause any discomfort. Much worse is are poorly aimed headlights or headlights on SUV’s towing a trailer. They are a danger.

    And a note to Les, you cannot turn off daytime running lights on many models. If you are struggling to see at night and in the wet I suggest you visit an Optometrist
    as a priority rather than vent at those who can afford a new car.

  64. While fog lights were designed for a specific purpose the wide spread of flat light reaches much further to the left and right of a vehicle than standard headlights. I live in an area where kangaroos are commonly grazing beside the road at night and the extra spread of light helps see them before they panic and race off in a random direction, often in front of the vehicle. While speed reduction helps reduce the risk of impact with kangaroos, the extra time to judge where the animal is likely to go helps a driver avoid a collision and stay within their lane while taking evasive action.

  65. The use of front fog lights is simple. Use them like you high beams, turn them off when they can dazzle oncoming cars.
    Rear fog lights are similar, but more so. Only use them when you can’t clearly see the cars behind you. Rear fog lights are more frustrating than front fog lights as they look like brake lights from afar. The natural reaction when you see brake lights in the distance is to slow down and start braking yourself. More braking will cause tailbacks. Not to mention not being able to see the drivers actual brake lights.
    Please get the police to police the use of this frustration.

  66. I drive a lot on country roads as well as in the city. Oncoming cars with their fog lights on in fine weather day or night are a road hazard. The fog lights these days appear to be brighter with a more directional beam than the original low and wide, yellow coloured, beamed fog lights. It is currently illegal to have your fog lights on in NSW unless visability is poor due to fog and I believe all road users should comply with this law. I find in many instances that I have experienced, especially at night on country roads, that oncoming vehicles with their fog lights on in fine weather is as blinding if not worse than vehicles with their high beam and driving lights on. I beleive that this shoud be policed better and roadusers should be more considerate regarding their fellow road users.

  67. One way of highlighting your car and drive to the police is to drive with your fog lights on. If you don,t want to draw attention to yourself leave them off. I was once pulled over or by a patrol car to have a breath test because I had those lights on and it was a reason to stop me. Fortunately it was 5am and I was heading for the gym.

  68. Dennis – mentions the F6 VMS message that suggests the use of your cars hazard-warning lights on moving vehicles, under heavy fog conditions.

    This allowance was a unique NSW law that became ARR 221(e). It’s creation goes back to 1988, and became an ARR in 1999. The idea of the hazards in heavy fog has no bearing on forward lighting (front fog/low-beam), but rather to protect your REAR. In effect, the allowance serves as a defacto rear fog lamp.

    You can ignore the F6 VMS advice especially if your car has a rear fog lamp. A rear fog lamp is the only design-rule mandated ‘fog lamp’, in EU! Front fog lamps are only optional, this will not change.

    Drivers need to learn of the front fog light ISO symbol, and of the REAR fog lamp ISO symbol, and further appreciate the color-function pilot light given for each; GREEN for front fog, ORANGE-YELLOW for the rear fog lamp.

    Would not own a car without a rear fog, don’t care about front. A gf bought a new Outlander, in AUS trim the rear fog lamp is a ‘dummy’, so I’ve ordered from the UK the DS rear fog lamp replacement, and an ISO rear fog lamp switch. Install is exceedingly easy.

  69. I don’t have a problem with the use of fog lights during the day for visibility, I don’t do it myself, but it doesn’t bother me when others do.
    The only time I find them to be a problem is in clear conditions with wet roads.

    I live in the Blue mountains and have frequent encounters with real fog, and I have noticed that the factory fog lamps do not have a very effective beam pattern for piercing fog, compared to quality aftermarket lamps, and as mentioned above, the white beam is nowhere near as effective as amber.
    Perhaps if amber globes were fitted people would be less likely to use them outside of their intended use, they would also produce less glare for all of those with hypersensitivity to light.

    DRL’s were mentioned above, these lights are quite effective for improving visibility, they cannot be aimed incorrectly as they have a very widespread beam, designed to be easily seen from almost any angle, and you’ll just have to get used to them, as they’re becoming standard equipment on all models.

  70. David, now source a rear fog light for install. (Hella/LE Perie). A rear fog has been mandatory for all NSWFB fire fighting vehicles circa 1988. :-)

    Re front fogs at night on twisty roads, the governing international law re use of front fog lamps says “but use is permitted at night on twisty mountainous roads”. Our ARR has not reflected that bit, but our overall restriction of use complies with the remainder of text/law held in “The UN Convention on Road Traffic, Signs & Signals”. Indeed most of our primary traffic laws are derived from this Convention, it’s been this way since circa 1922 under the old League of Nations.

  71. Up until the early 1990s, Australian design rules (ADRs) stipulated that fog lights and head lights could not be used simultaneously. Fog lights could only be used with “parking” lights which pretty much ensured they would only ever be used in fog. Few cars had fog lights but those that did (such as Mercedes I have owned) had to comply with that ADR and therefore differed to those delivered in other markets. Unfortunately, from around 1992 that ADR was changed allowing for the situation we now have with many cars driving with head lights and fog lights operating simultaneously.

  72. Simple read your owners manual, I read the owners manual for a Santa fe and there’s a warning about pacemakers in it. The road rules are there for a reason follow them. If you can’t follow the rules hand in your licence and get of the bloody road.

  73. Use of these fog lights in daytime is nothing but annoying-they do nothing for the owner-driver-but distract the oncoming traffic.
    Wet weather can be a compromise however-particularly for some car colors.
    The later models shaded blue are even worse.

  74. This is about fog lights and you switch them on when it’s foggy and have them off when it’s clear and there is a $99 fine for not complying – I reckon that is fairly easy to understand.
    P platers would be foolish to flaunt this law as they could lose their licence.
    Indeed, anyone could lose their licence if they were booked enough times for their fog lights being used inappropriately so you “look at me” people had better be careful because you are attracting attention to yourself and Mr HWP might be watching.

  75. Read through a lot of comments, but the one that really confused me mentioned “four lights coming towards you at night”, do double lane roads scare these people?
    I personally couldn’t care about others using fog lights 24/7, It has never caused me to be dazzled, blinded or disturbed in anyway. Its those blue lights that annoy me.
    The police do ignore the law, and many laws said to be for safety issues have police exemptions. If holding a mobile device while driving is illegal because its unsafe, why are police completely exempt? If they have another officer in the passenger seat, should the passenger not take the call? If they have no civilians in the vehicle, isn’t hands free safer? All men are created equal, why aren’t they treated equal?

    • I agree with you about the blue lights, it’s even worse in the country where there are no lights and then bam one of those arseholes hits you with them on low beam. Instant blinding. They should be illegal period. Way too bright even for the country darkness.

  76. Dear Co Road Users, which part of illegal do you not understand? In the above article, it is already stated that it is illegal to use fog lights whilst driving, unless adverse weather conditions in NSW. End of story. Please note especially the high vehicles with higher head lights than normal vehicles, when you approach the small sedan in front, the rear vision mirror and the rear window is already fully lit with the head light of the higher vehicle, we do not need the fog light as well. Please be considerate, I do not drive a large 4X4 because I do not go off road, from what I can see, a lot of the 4X4 on our road have not even seen the gravel edge of our roads!

    • Well said!

      I couldn’t care less that some people aren’t bothered by blinding or reflected foglights. It’s illegal to drive with them on unless in adverse conditions.

      Foglights are designed to cut through fog and used in other other situation can be blinding to many road users, especially when coming through the rear window and reflecting in rear vision mirror AND wing mirrors.

      The law isn’t there for no reason!

  77. I only found the switch for the fog lamps after we had owned the car for about 3 years. I asked my husband what the green light was in the dash when I arrived home from work one day only to be told they were the fog lights…

  78. I have a problems with fog lamps on of a daytime they dazzle you more than of a night . I consider that the drivers either don’t care or are trying to look cool, maybe they should be made to drive towards someone with their fog lights on and then they will realize that it is nearly impossible to see, That is if they give a dam. I agree headlights on low beam are of assistance during the day, but the same idiots who have their fog lights on usually have their high beam on also. I live in the country so I would imagine that it is worse in the city especially if the road happened to be wet. The police don’t seem to worry about the fog light issue.

  79. I drive to work around 5am when it is dark. I travel mostly on freeways and the number of cars with fog lights on, in clear conditions, is increasing.
    Fog lights are of no use at freeway speeds and their use is illegal for this purpose. They only dazzle the oncoming traffic with no benefit to the driver.
    Try driving with only fog lights on and you will see how limited they are in assisting forward vision.
    NRMA should sponsor a campaign to educate people in the correct use of fog lights.

  80. Thanks for the comment and the suggestion Mark. I have put it to our Policy Team for consideration. Best wishes, Daniel, NRMA Social Team

  81. Years ago, people managed to drive on the road at night when vehicles were fitted with 6 volt electrical systems and streets were lit using on incandescent lighting.

    Today, we have quartz-halogen, quartz-iodine and xenon lighting fitted to cars and incandescent lighting has all but disappeared from streets and roads.

    However, the ability to see at night with all of these measures in place, appears to have inversely impacted upon many drivers’ post-sunset ability in that it seems that every second car on the road needs to proceed as some sort of mobile light show.

    I, like many others, have grown weary of being distracted and sometimes (temporarily) blinded by these displays. Worst still are those who drive on parking lights with only the fog lights activated, for they pose themselves and others a serious risk by not lighting up the road in front in them significantly or to any distance ahead.

    Can we have some serious policing of this issue? Currently, it appears that traffic police don’t consider anyone to be offending unless they are speeding, drink-driving or not wearing a seat belt!

  82. I would like to add not just fog lights are a hazard because of their brightness, but also since the checking and aligning of headlights is a thing of the past some new cars and 4X4′s need their lights AIMED DOWN AND LEFT, it is very blinding.

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  85. I realise this a late input to discussion but the issue of fog lights and/or driving lights cannot be controlled when police vehicles are as bad as everyone else when it comes to improper use of these lights. Also with so called daytime running lamps being much brighter than most fog lights when you are faced with vehicles with all lights on the glare is horrendous especially on narrow roads, also not all vehicles are fitted with inside warning lamps which most drivers ignore any way and a large percentage of drivers are unaware the they have fog or driving lights or that they have a high/low beam that an dipped

  86. JUST GOT A $104 fine for driving with fog lights.
    the “officer” asked if it was my car ?
    I replied no. as it’s not in my name. then I got asked to pull over and I had to wait 10 minutes. he came back with a fine and threw it at me and told me to adjust my attitude. all I said was “it’s not in my name”

    police are an absolute joke !

    • You got booked for doing something wrong !
      At least you are nor winging about it but just stating the facts from the time. I really think its a lot of cops that have the bad attitude.

  87. Personally I totally disagree with all fog lights. On older cars they were needed because lights were dimmer and harder to see. But these days lights are bright LEDs which can clearly be seen in the fog.
    We just had a foggy day yesterday and people were obviously using fog lights. However I was being blinded as the light is amplified by the fog.
    I didn’t use any fog lights until a guy come up behind me with his front fog lights on. All I could see was glare behind me and in my mirror. So I flashed my rear fog lights. Then Nothing. So I put them on permanently. He flashed me to say they were blinding him. So I flashed my rears and turned them off. Then nothing. So this happened 2 more times until I just turned them on and flipped my mirror up.
    15-20 seconds later I saw he flashed again, When I looked, he had finally turned them off.

    Fog lights are nothing but trouble. They blind you and night, and during the day they just cause a white sheet in front of the car so your visibility is even worse.
    On modern cars, fog lights need to be removed or banned.
    Older cars still need them as their lights are dimmer, but modern cars just don’t need fog lights.

  88. I spend many hours driving hundreds of Km in central NSW in the day and night. I have had thousands of encounters with the fog light menaces, both oncoming and following me. if these people are actually turning them on to see better why is the other part of their brain not working? i.e. they turn fog lights on to make the road in front of them brighter, yet they fail to realise that the drivers of all those vehicles in front of them will be looking into brighter lights as they approach or drive in the same direction. just tonight @aprox 930pm on the Newell Hwy near Parkes I noticed an oncoming vehicle flash Hibeam at the car in front of me (on hi beam) whilst the vehicle that was flashing the headlights coming towards us also had the fog lights illuminated,
    On many occasions I have called the police (Dubbo, Parkes & Orange) and believe my calls were not conveyed to the police in the cars. I have even had one police officer ask me if I meant they did not dip the Hi-Beam and I had clearly said Fog lights and the officer then asked me what is the actual problem. to which I replied that I see no fog so the use of fog lights is illegal and the car following me has fog lights turned on and it makes it hard to see in front of me so I have slowed down.
    It is so frustrating that I dip my Hi-Beam yet these people seem to think its ok for them to use additional lights because they are not Hi-Beam.

  89. This needs a full campaign. It’s a HUGE problem in Sydney (I’ve estimate approx 45% of all cars based on a sample of 20 at 9pm last week – i.e. probably 90% of those with them installed), particularly when combined with DIY HID lights that aren’t aimed properly. I’m also seeing an increasing number of rear fog lights.

    • Hi William, thanks for your feedback. I suggest you leave this comment as a suggestion in our Speak Out portal (http://bit.ly/NRMA_SpeakOut) so that other NRMA Members can vote on it. Then our Advocacy team could look at the possibility of a campaign. Best wishes, Daniel, NRMA Social

  90. I see many motorists using fog and spot lights set lower than the required distance above the road that are used in clear weather. The police here in East Sussex completely ignore this abuse of the law.

  91. The problem I find is at night when an oncoming vehicle leaves the foglights switched on. A number of comments are that their light is a thin band. It doesn’t matter of they are a thin band when they are not properly adjusted. There is no excuse orneed them on a clear night quick isn’t majority of the time.
    The rule about driving behind a car is the full lights when 200m behind. It is courtesy to do the earlier and it is courtesy to turn off the foglights.

  92. I do quite a substantial amount of driving in all weather conditions and both day and night. I think that this law is in need of a major change as it is too broad and generalised. I will explain why I think this needs to have provisions and sub clauses.
    It is quite obvious from reading through all the above comments that there is no public consensus on whether this law is fair or whether it’s just another government money grab. I am telling you that it is both and this is why it needs to be amended.
    Here are my proposed clauses and the reasoning behind each one

    1. Use of fog lights except during fog and adverse weather shall be prohibited for all high sitting vehicles including but not limited to SUV, 4X4, and high cab Ute’s.
    (the reason behind this is that on these vehicles the hight of the fog lights will become a visibility and glare issue for lower sitting cars on the road such as the standard Ute’s and sedan’s.)

    2. The use of fog lights shall be permitted at all times for all vehicles including but not limited to sedans, standard Ute’s, and wagons.
    (the reason I believe that these cars should be exempt from the ban is because on these cars the fog lights are between 6-12 inches off the ground and due to the direction of fog lamps ie:downward trajectory. They create no adverse effects on the visibility of other road users at night and They make you easier to see in the daylight.)

    2A. (Provisions) restrictions will be placed on acceptable globes. The use of fog lights except during fog and adverse weather will be prohibited in any vehicle if said vehicle’s fog lights contain high intensity globes.

    As I have already stated I do quite an extensive amount of driving in all weather conditions and both day and night time. This experience has given me clear evidence that the legislation needs to be amended. This is a road safety act so for the legislation to reflect this the restrictions need to be selective to the type of vehicle and globes used so a fine should only be given where their use creates a hazard to other road users.

  93. There are heaps of cars driving around with 4lights on, 2topand 2 at the bottom of the cars, I don’t think that these lights are fog just 4 bright lights and on some cars the lower ones are brighter than the top main lights. They can be quite annoying when they just pass a padestrian their light completely blot out the person standing on the centre of the road. Is it illegal to drive with these lights on as I don’t think they are fog lamps. Drivers who don’t know if there is a switch to turn them on or off should familiarise themselves with a vehicle before driving it.

  94. If you own a Subaru WRX, STI or a Forrester you must do two things, have a loud exhaust and drive with your fog lights on, I drive one and I do both, it’s standard procedure folks!

  95. Most new cars have equipped LED Headlights which are way brighter than the fog lights unless you customize them. I try only using Fog light + Auto Daytime Running LED Light at night rather than using my headlight because new Forester LED white headlights are way too bright and using the headlight would be more likely to blind road users than only using fog lights. I just got pulled over by the police as soon as i entered Port Auguster (city) by only using my fog light. Yellow fog lights are generally less brighter and softer than white led headlight and therefore less likely to blind others because less light intensity, this is common sense. They fined me $500+ for using fog light and not using my headlights (i turned them off once i entered towns) and i drove from the Outback on the way to Adelaide. This is just outrages and rubbish because normal fog lights will do nothing to your eyes, but LED headlight will actually blind you. Police who gives infringements for this reason is completely disgusting and disgrace, turning on a light source in front of your car only helps others to see you clearly, and only LED headlights will blind road users unless you can afford a car with high-end matrix headlights. If you see truckies who travels on country roads at night, sometimes they will giveway or go slower for you to pass them because they don’t like being blinded by your LED headlight (NOT Fog Lights!). This is just another way Police collecting more revenue, they don’t care about you or understand why we need NORMAL fog lights at all times so others can see you on the road and for your safety to see whats out in front of you.

  96. While we know fog lights are only legal in adverse weather conditions the thread here is being dazzled by incorrectly adjusted lights (for and head lights). Why not bring back the ” headlight beam checking machine” we had when I was a lad. You got your car inspected at the servo and they’d would run out the big lens on wheels and put it in front of your headlights, one at a time. If your headlights were not focused/aimed correctly, you failed until you fixed the problem.
    I wish the #NRMA would campaign to get this check brought back in a mandatory testing every 12 months..

  97. Interesting reading. I am convinced that the only answer is to set up the wiring so that either headlights OR fog lights are on. It seems that a very significant number of people will either ignore the facts, or the law, or not understand how the switching on their vehicle works. If they could only select one or the other, presumably they would select the best lighting for the situation. And even if they don’t, at least they would only have two strong lights coming at you rather than four. Incorrectly aimed lights is a whole other issue, perhaps even more annoying!

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