What Lights Do You Use in Fog – Tips & Expert Advice

“What lights do you use in fog?” is a common question among drivers. Let’s unveil the solution in this in-depth guide.

Like snowfalls, rainstorms, dust clouds, or other adverse atmospheric conditions, driving in fog poses two challenges: you cannot see as far as you can when it is clear, and other drivers cannot see you as well.

Such a situation is frustrating! Therefore, like every other driver in foggy circumstances, you reach for the headlight switch.

However, what if fog lights are unavailable in your vehicle? Should you use high or low beams then? Are there other effective solutions?

Let’s explore the answers in this very article!

What lights should you use in fog?

In a nutshell, when driving in fog, it is best to drive with a combination of fog lights and low-beam headlights. They are the two best partners available in your car.

To thoroughly understand this matter, it is essential to go through all light options included in your vehicle.

Typically, most cars have eight light options, which are highlighted in the following table:

Among various types of car lights, low beams are the number one choice for driving in bad weather like fog.

Since it is impossible to see far in thick fog, low beams allow you to see the road lines just ahead and help you remain in your lane.

The second-best option in dealing with foggy situations is fog light.

However, fog lights are not popular in newer car models. High-tech lighting has rendered fog lights useless.

Why is it Necessary

To pass a driver’s exam, you must recognize and utilize all types of vehicle lights effortlessly.

However, it is likely that all drivers forget almost everything after they have passed their test.

This behavior not only puts their own lives but also the lives of other drivers at risk.

Each light type on an automobile has a separate purpose, either to assist you or alert other drivers.

Therefore, it is essential to know which headlights to use in which situation, especially when driving in dangerous circumstances like fog. If utilized incorrectly, severe accidents may occur.

Which Headlight Is Better When Driving in Fog

You should use which headlights on your vehicle? Between high beams and low beams, the latter prevails when driving in fog.

High beams allow you to see up to 400 feet in their pointing direction.

In other words, their primary goal is to provide as much illumination as possible across a larger area.

Yet, they are unable to penetrate the thick fog. Water droplets in the air will reflect high beams’ lights back at you and drastically decrease your range of view.

On the other hand, low beams fix the above drawback with their downward light.

When driving in fog, you can see better with low beams as they shine the areas right in front of you, allowing you to see road lines clearly.

Is it True When Driving in Fog it is Best To Drive With Fog Lights?

So far, you know that there are two options to deal with foggy weather: low beams and fog lights.

Fog lights are useful in hazardous driving conditions such as fog. Nevertheless, low beams are the more preferred candidate.

If utilized appropriately, fog lights can be a helpful addition to headlights. Fog lights are also a brilliant backup for when low beams are unavailable.

However, as fog lights are not legally required on vehicles, they are not a reliable solution.

This is the reason why low-beam headlights are the best choice to drive through thick fog.

Dangers of Using High Beam When Driving in Fog

Although high-beam headlights can emit a bright glow up to 400 feet in front of your vehicle, using them can cause more harm than good in foggy situations.

These are the top two dangers you will encounter when utilizing high beams in foggy weather.

Danger #1: High Beams Decrease Your Driving Vision

When driving in fog, water droplets in the atmosphere behave as tiny mirrors.

They will reflect your powerful high-beam lights, causing glare back at you and further obscuring your vision.

Danger #2: High Beams Blind Other Drivers

Despite improving your safety when driving at night on country roads or interstate highways, high beams should be switched off during foggy conditions or when there are other vehicles around.

Their high-intensity lights can blind other drivers and create dangerous circumstances.

01. Do Low Beams Serve The Purpose of Fog Lights?

While both low beams and fog lights are ideal partners to help you power through the thick fog, they serve different purposes and cannot be utilized interchangeably.

When driving in fog, you can see better by turning on low beams.

If they illuminate the road and vehicles further ahead, fog lights are effective in shining areas just in front of you, such as immediate corners or sideways where low beams cannot reach.

Another distinction between the two light types is the shining direction.

Unlike low beams, which emit lights upward, fog lights can only beam downward or straight ahead due to blockage from a deflector.

Thus, these fog lights don’t impede approaching traffic in any way.

02. Are Daytime Running Lights The Same As Fog Lights?

Daytime running lights (or DRLs) and fog lights are completely different, although you can find both types installed on the front and back of your automobile.

While fog lights are essential for safe driving under hazardous weather conditions, DRLs aim to make your vehicle more noticeable to other drivers without requiring you to turn on headlights constantly.

You can use DRLs during the daytime as their lights are dim enough to not blind surround traffic.

However, using fog lights at such a time is against the law in some states.

03. Which Bulb Types Do You Use in Fog?

LEDs and halogens are two prevalent choices of many car lights.

Although halogen bulbs have been around for decades, LED types are more popular nowadays, utilized in fog lights, driving lamps, and brake lights.

Option #1: Halogen Bulb Types

In the automotive industry, halogen bulbs were the norm for many years thanks to their cheap investment and ease of replacement.

Unlike conventional incandescent bulbs, this bulb type contains a dosage of halogen gas instead of argon gas.

You can find halogen bulb types installed in different vehicle lights, including fog lights and headlights.

Option #2: LED Bulb Types

For a variety of reasons, automakers and customers seem to favor LEDs more.

LED bulbs to consume less energy, generate less heat, and survive considerably longer than their counterpart. Thanks to those benefits, LED bulbs are superior for use in fog.

In addition, LEDs provide greater room for designing your vehicle lighting system. However, the cost of having LEDs is obviously higher!

04. Are Halogens Better Than LEDs in Fog?

Despite the high cost, when it comes to driving in fog, you won’t regret the decision to equip your vehicle lights with LED bulbs.

Compared to conventional halogens, LEDs provide a plethora of advantages.

Thanks to their long lifespan and durable performance, LEDs are a money-saving option in the long run.

If halogens can last around 24 months, the longevity of LED bulbs reaches up to many more years.

Plus, LEDs illuminate better than halogens, making powering through the thick fog a piece of cake.

05. How To Determine If Your Fog Lights Are Safe To Use?

The Highway Code stipulates that when you can only see things less than 328 feet (100 meters) ahead, using fog lights is legal and appropriate.

It is against the law to turn on fog lights 24/7 as they will dazzle other vehicles.

Always check your fog lights before starting any trip in fall and winter since they may fail at any time.

Watch out for cars with automated lights (auto function in low-light situations).

Most of the time, you will have to manually activate your fog lights.

06. When Should You Not Use Fog Lights?

Briefly speaking, except for murky situations that block your view, putting fog lights into sleep mode is a great idea.

Using them at the wrong time will result in severe consequences, including voiding your insurance policy under the occurrence of an accident.

Some states even consider such behavior to be illegal.

Watch this video: Let’s learn more about when to use and not to use fog lights.

Tips About: What Lights Do You Use in Fog

Here is a scary truth about fog: you can be driving with adequate visibility and then suddenly encounter a road section where you can barely see anything ahead.

In such a dangerous situation, knowing the following tips will ensure your highest safety.

Tip #1: Switch on Rear Fog Light

If possible, utilize rear fog lights when 300 feet is the maximum visibility you have.

Tip #2: Stay Away From High Beams

Avoid using high-beam headlights at all costs during foggy weather.

They only make things worse for you and other drivers by reflecting lights back into your eyes.

Tip #3: Reduce Your Driving Speed

Reducing your speed and deactivating your cruise control are the two initial tasks to do.

Driving too fast in those foggy circumstances is the culprit of many crashes.

Tip #4: Utilize Both Low Beams and Fog Lights in Dense Fog

If you are driving through really dense fog, switch both low beams and fog lights on.

Don’t rely on fog lights alone, as such practice is both dangerous and illegal.

Tip #5: Minimize Distractions While Driving

Turn off the music and refrain from talking on your cellphone. Focus on the road and listen for traffic you might not see.

Tip #6: Avoid Reckless Passing and Turning

When driving in fog, your vision is limited. So as other drivers! Thus, never make reckless passing and turning, especially pulling over in the middle of a highway.

Instead, drive slowly and occasionally sound the horn!

Tip #7: Use Snow Tires

Snow tires are not exclusive to icy conditions. With a softer rubber composition, snow tires are more flexible in wet weather, such as fog.

They adapt to the surface better, giving a better road grip.

Tip #8: Clean Your Headlights in Advance

A good practice is to clean the headlights every time you fill up your gas tank. Keeping your headlights clean is the key to safe driving in fog.

Tip #9: Keep Windshield Clear and Use Defroster

Under foggy weather, moisture will condense on the windshield and impair your driving vision.

Using the defroster (or defogger) function is the best solution. It warms the windshield up to remove the frost.

Watch this video: Defogging your windshield is essential to give your adequate visibility.

Tip #10: Refrain From Turning on Hazard Lights

Switching on hazard lights conveys the message that your vehicle is disabled. However, you simply do not stop in fog.

Thus, using hazard lights in such conditions will confuse other drivers about your true intention and increase the chance of accidents.

Tip #11: Never Stop in Travel Lanes

Never attempt to stop in travel lanes, especially under foggy conditions. If you miss an exit, do not go back and patiently look for the next turn.

Tip #12: Maintain Safe Distance and Not Creep Along

Fog will make you see things in front of you later than expected. Therefore, maintaining a safe distance between you and other cars gives you more response time.

It’s Recap Time!

What lights do you use in fog? By now, you should have had a crystal clear answer to the question.

Here is the recap: Among various light options in your vehicle, only use low beams and fog lights when driving in fog.

Stay away from using other car lights, especially high beams and hazard lights.

That is all you need to remember from this article. Let’s note down and do it correctly in your next foggy trip.

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