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When to use fog lights?

When to use fog lights?

Weather conditions can sometimes complicate driving. When visibility is restricted (thick fog, snow showers...), there are certain precautions you can take to keep driving safely. To keep your bearings, you can turn on your fog lights. These special lights help you to see and be seen better. However, they can also dazzle other road users, so don't turn them on at any time!

What are fog lights?

Fog lamps are visibility aids used when the driver's vision has deteriorated dramatically due to bad weather. There are two of them, white or yellow at the front and red at the rear. At the rear, they are used to indicate the presence of a vehicle on the road. With a luminous intensity 3 times greater than that of a brake light, they're sure to be a source of annoyance to others.

When should rear fog lights be fitted?

Rear fog lights are intended for use only in fog or heavy snow. Driving in a fog bank or during a snow avalanche is an occasion to use them. However, this is not a compulsory measure, and the driver cannot be penalized for failing to use these lights. In addition, it is forbidden to switch them on in the rainy season, or when visibility exceeds 200 meters, so as not to dazzle other road users. To date, the use of these devices is not mandatory, although many vehicles are equipped with them.

Fog light indicator

In traffic, depending on weather conditions, you can switch on your front, rear or both fog lights simultaneously. Their symbol is easily recognizable, as a wave representing fog is present on the indicator light.

Front fog light indicator

The front fog light indicator, like the position light or low beam indicator, is green. The lines representing the light beams are oblique, indicating that their use does not dazzle other road users. Since the lines are on the left-hand side, this indicates that the lights are actually on the front of the car.

Rear fog light indicator

The rear fog lamp is the only lamp to be orange in color. The lines of its light beams are straight, indicating that their use is likely to dazzle other road users. The rear fog lamp symbol differs from the front fog lamp symbol not only in color but also in that its lines are on the right-hand side.

How to turn them on?

Yellow or white, rear fog lights are generally located under the front light units. The controls for activating the headlights vary according to the model and year of the vehicle. The activation lever can be located on the right or left of the steering wheel. On the lever, you'll generally find 2 rings, one for activating the position, dipped and main beam headlamps, and the other for the front and rear fog lamps. To help you, the light logos are drawn on the rings.  Make sure that the green symbol or light, representing a headlight with light beams pointing forwards and downwards, is switched on on your dashboard.

Misuse of fog lights

You cannot be penalized for the absence of front fog lights, as they are optional. However, you can be penalized for misusing them. This is the case when visibility is good, as you risk dazzling other road users for no good reason.

Here are a few concrete examples of misuse:

  • In daylight, when weather conditions are good.
  • In daylight, when it's raining lightly. Prefer daytime running lights.
  • At night in town.
  • At night on an unlit roadway when passing a vehicle.

Note: Never use your rear fog lights in the rain. They will dazzle other road users behind you. And don't forget to switch them off as soon as the fog has dissipated.

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