There has always been a great deal of debate about fog lights and when and where they should be used. But according to Rule 218-1 (a) Use fog light when not permitted of the NSW Road Rules 2014 it clearly explains that it is illegal to use fog lights where there are no adverse weather conditions such as fog or mist which restrict visibility.
The Roads and Maritime Services also officially states that:
Front and rear fog lights must only be used in fog or rain, or when conditions such as smoke and dust limit your vision. It is a legal requirement that once conditions improve and you can see more clearly, the front and rear fog lights are switched off.
It is important however to note that LED daytime running light (DRLs) are not considered fog lights, though they often cast a stronger light than a typical fog light.
Fog lights differ from your normal driving lights and high beams. They are designed to reflect a horizontal band of light across the front of the vehicle, and a special shield built inside the light prevents the beam from being projected upwards.
Back in the old days, it was recommended that the fog light be fitted below the vehicle’s front bumper. This is because fog is thinner closest to the road, positioning fog lights 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 lights are a common sight on vehicles everywhere. As manufacturers across the board add extra features to their mid to top of the range models, the proliferation of fog lights has become more widespread. So why are we seeing an increasingly high proportion of vehicles driving around with illuminated fog lights, in situations that clearly don’t warrant their use?
Modern cars with a multi-function headlight switch fitted, may sometimes have an inner ring that, when rotated, turned on your fog lights. Many people are unaware that their light switch would even have a ring that could turn on their fog lights but luckily in most cases, there are warning lights illuminated in your dashboard, to alert you if your fog lights were on.
Our tip is to check whether this warning light is lit up on the instrument panel along with the main headlight indicator light. If it is illuminated and you’re not driving through fog, switch it off, unless you want to cop a hefty fine!