Now that the evenings are dark in this part of the world, it is very noticeable that many cars have their fog lights on at all times. I have even seen people driving at night with their fog lights on, but their main lights off. On a few occasions I have had the courage to ask people why they had their fog lights on. Some said they didn’t realize they were on, but others said that they weren’t fog lights, that they were turned on to make the car look good! But whatever the reason people leave them on; it is selfish and ignorant behaviour. So the following are some reasons you should leave them off, unless of course there is poor visibility:
1. You are dazzling other road users. Leaving your fog lights on increases the glare for other drivers and reduces their visibility. Fog lights are purposely located close to the ground and therefore their light is reflected off the surface of the road increasing light glare and dazzling other drivers. This is especially true when the road is wet and the surface is like a mirror. Older drivers are easier to dazzle and frankly it’s not a good idea to dazzle people who are driving towards you at speed.
2. Using your fog lights in clear conditions reduces your own visibility. Fog lights are designed to light up the surface very close to the front of a car, to aid the driver in poor visibility when driving slowly. But in clear conditions this extra glare and light in the foreground will obviously reduce the drivers’ ability to see far ahead. It might feel like its better to have all your lights turned on, but its not, you need to see in the distance when driving. Just consider how much you would be able to see if someone pointed a flash-light at your eyes when it’s dark.
3. Many fog lights are misaligned. As a result of driving over pot holes and rough surfaces many front fog lights are misdirected/ misaligned. Therefore your lights might be pointing directly at the eyes of oncoming drivers and this is another reason not to have them on during clear conditions.
4. You are showing your own ignorance. If you are driving with your fog lights on at all times, you are showing that either you don’t know how to work your car or that you don’t care if you blind other people. Either way you are showing in a very visible way that you are ignorant.
The response of the police. I was speaking to the police recently about this issue; I had been stopped at a random checkpoint and breathalysed and as there was very little traffic about we started to have a chat. One of the officers said it annoyed him too, but it was difficult to prosecute drivers in Ireland for it, other than under the offence of ‘driving without due care and attention’. By contrast in Germany I understand you are immediately pulled in by the police if you had your fog lights on during clear conditions.
To finish, don’t be an idiot, turn off your fog lights unless there is fog or poor visibility.