What’s The Fuss About Fog Lights?
There is a lot of confusion and misguided information on the subject of fog lights, the legalities, how and when to use them. In this article we will look at what fog lights are and their specific purpose and provide some useful tips on how to drive safely in foggy conditions.
What Are Fog Lights?
Fog lights are automotive lights that help the driver see in front of the vehicle when visibility is severely restricted, mainly by fog. They provide a concentrated beam of light that can penetrate fog and mist which will also make you more visible to other drivers in these adverse weather conditions.
Where Are Fog Lights Located And Why?
Fog lights are usually mounted beneath your headlights, low on the bodywork of your car, about 12 to 30 inches above the road, angled downward at a steeper angle than normal headlights. The beam emanating from fog lights is wide and flat with a distinct cut off at the top which reduces the amount of light reflecting off the fog. Fog lights basically project light under the fog, rather than into the fog. The road directly ahead of you is illuminated and you can proceed slowly ahead. If your fog lights are illuminating road signs, trees, or the bumper of the car in front of you, they are aimed too high and will reflect too much light back to you when driving which will impair your visibility further and could be dangerous.
What Is The Difference Between Headlights And Fog Lights?
Headlights are the car’s main driving lights - they are powerful lights intended to illuminate a longer range of the road whereas fog lights are smaller, auxiliary lights that are used in adverse weather conditions to light up the road immediately in front of the car.
When Should You Use Fog Lights?
Fog lights should ONLY be used when visibility is extremely poor and reduced to 100 meters or less. Fog lights should only be used in low visibility conditions caused by snow, fog, mist, dust or smoke. Do not use fog lights as headlights or if you can see further than this recommended distance or as you could put other drivers at risk. Once the weather conditions improve, you must turn off the fog lights as they can obscure your brake lights as well as dazzle other drivers.
It Is Illegal In South Africa To Use Fog Lights During The Day Or When The Weather Is Clear
You may get fined for the illegal use of fog lights in South Africa as you will be in contravention of Regulation 163 (6) of the National Road Traffic Act, 93 of 1996, which states that No person is allowed to “operate on a public road, a motor vehicle while any fog lamp fitted to such vehicle is lit, except in conditions of poor visibility caused by snow, fog, mist, dust or smoke”.
How To Safely Drive-In Foggy Conditions
To help you stay as safe as possible, keep the following in mind when traveling in reduced visibility conditions
Be alert and vigilant. Minimize any distractions by turning off the radio and your cell phone
Reduce your speed and drive slowly when entering fog
Keep a 4-second gap between you and the car in front - you need to give yourself time to react
Use your windscreen wipers and defrosters to assist with visibility - it will limit excess moisture on the window and help to reduce the glare
Turn off cruise control so you can maximize your control of the car
Put on fog lights if your visibility is reduced to 100 meters (328 feet)
Do not use full beam - the fog will reflect the light back to you and can severely impair your vision
Drive with low beams and fog lights
If your visibility is extremely limited, roll down your window so you can hear oncoming traffic and emergency vehicles
If possible, use roadside reflectors or the edge of the road as a guide
If visibility is so bad you cannot see, stop in a safe place
Use your indicators to alert other drivers you are pulling over and turn on your hazard lights
Only continue when it is safe to do so
You should check your fog lamps regularly and ensure they are in working order. You never know when you will need them and this simple act could prevent an accident and ultimately save your life. If your bulb has gone or if you are needing a new fog light or parts thereof, AfricaBoyz Online should be your first choice. It is an online shop that caters for all car brands and models and has an array of car parts at really great prices. They offer fast door-to-door delivery via a courier service so you can get your car safely back on the road in no time.
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