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A Ministerial lesson in how to use your fog lights

By johnboy - 16 March 2012 58

With his Minister for Police hat on Simon Corbell is letting you all know how to use fog lights properly:

“There appears to be a misconception in the community about the use of fog lights and drivers may not be aware that it is illegal to use fog lights when driving in normal weather conditions,” Mr Corbell said.

“Fog lights were designed to help drivers see and be more visible when driving in fog or other hazardous weather conditions which can reduce visibility.

“Different to long distance driving lights, fog lights have a low, flat, wide beam that illuminates the road below fog or mist and this can be hazardous to drivers in other normal driving conditions by blocking or minimising their vision.

“Since March 2000 it became an offence to use rear fog lights in non-inclement weather but it did not become an offence to use front fog lights in non-hazardous weather until the road rules were amended in March 2010.”

Fog lights were designed to be mounted low on a vehicle’s front bumper and have a beam pattern that is low and diffused, unlike a headlight which has a focussed beam.

Rear fog lights were designed to allow a vehicle to be seen by drivers behind that vehicle.

“It is an offence to drive with driving lights on that may dazzle and distract other drivers, even if those driving lights were mounted below the bumper bar of the vehicle,” he said.

“ACT Policing has issued a small number of traffic infringement notices for fog light related offences in past years, however officers were also aware that many drivers do not realise they have their fog lights on. Cautionary measures will continue to be taken, however fines can be issued of up to $102 for the offence.

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58 Responses to
A Ministerial lesson in how to use your fog lights
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bikhet 6:00 pm 19 Mar 12

jawm said :

… first came across this in New York state – seems to make a lot of sense to me…

Georgia too – and all the time in Canada.

OpenYourMind 3:35 pm 19 Mar 12

Fog lights upsetting people: First world problem!
Is it really that big a deal?

I remember being in a cab at night time in Cairo. The drivers there don’t use headlights, the only time the headlights at night are used is a quick flick to indicate to other drivers of an impending catastrophe.

AlpineViper 3:10 pm 19 Mar 12

The actual road rule is here. Yes, It’s a South Australian site, but this particular rule is Australia-wide.
http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/sa/consol_reg/arr210/s217.html
This came into place sometime in 2007, from what I can tell. I can see no trace of the rule for front fog lights in the 1999 Australian Road Rules.

Frankly, I’m not sure I agree with the necessity. Any fog lights I have ever seen are pointed down at the road, and I have never been at risk of being “dazzled” by them. They are not “high-beam” as some people have incorrectly stated, they are the complete opposite: low beam. They light up the road close to the car and under the fog, and point nowhere near the direction of an oncoming driver.

I can’t help but think that this was legislation made by people who just thought it was a bit wankerish to have them on. Still, illegal is illegal I guess.

Deref 12:54 pm 18 Mar 12

m_ratt said :

Deref said :

They’re low and focussed down onto the road.

They’re not focussed, and that is exactly the problem. As per the original release “and have a beam pattern that is low and diffused, unlike a headlight which has a focussed beam.”

We could argue about the meaning of the word “focussed”, but let’s agree that they’re directed low onto the road.

m_ratt said :

From an oncoming driver’s position, fog lights are brighter than headlights, because headlights are focussed/cut off to prevent glare in this manner. Fog lights are not.

Park your car facing a wall – turn on the head lights, notice they are focussed and dip to the left (away from oncoming traffic) – do the same with your fog lights, notice they’re not focussed or cut off at all…

I can’t agree. I drive at night in the country a couple of times each week and I’d estimate that maybe 20% of the cars coming towards me are using fog lights. Not once have I seen one whose fog lights are brighter than dipped low beam and I’ve never been dazzled or annoyed by them. But, again, an equal proportion have lights that are badly mis-aligned and at least one of their lights dazzles me on low beam or they’re using high beam and don’t know or abide by the rule “dip your lights as soon as you see another vehicle’s head or tail lights”.

m_ratt 11:03 am 18 Mar 12

Deref said :

They’re low and focussed down onto the road.

They’re not focussed, and that is exactly the problem. As per the original release “and have a beam pattern that is low and diffused, unlike a headlight which has a focussed beam.”

From an oncoming driver’s position, fog lights are brighter than headlights, because headlights are focussed/cut off to prevent glare in this manner. Fog lights are not.

Park your car facing a wall – turn on the head lights, notice they are focussed and dip to the left (away from oncoming traffic) – do the same with your fog lights, notice they’re not focussed or cut off at all…

Deref 7:59 pm 17 Mar 12

IrishPete said :

Tooks said :

PrinceOfAles said :

Watson said :

I have never been blinded by fog lights during the day? They look wanky, but that’s the only thing I can say against them. Or am I missing something here?

I get far more worked up about half of the drivers not switching their lights on when there’s fog or rain.

I totally agree. .

Same here. I’ve never been blinded or distracted by them.

Indeed “during the day”. At night is another matter..

I was talking about at night.

IrishPete 2:14 pm 17 Mar 12

Tooks said :

PrinceOfAles said :

Watson said :

I have never been blinded by fog lights during the day? They look wanky, but that’s the only thing I can say against them. Or am I missing something here?

I get far more worked up about half of the drivers not switching their lights on when there’s fog or rain.

I totally agree. .

Same here. I’ve never been blinded or distracted by them.

Indeed “during the day”. At night is another matter..

However, I have noticed that I am slightly less quick to notice someone’s brake lights come on if their rear fog lights are also on (less so if they also have a high, mid-mounted brake light like newer cars mostly seem to). That has safety implications.

IP

Felix the Cat 12:33 pm 17 Mar 12

Very Busy said :

A good approach to this problem would be to change the Australian Design Rules in relation to the front fog light switch. A push button type switch that turns the lights on only until the vehicle is turned off seems like the way to go. When the vehicle is then restarted, the fog light button would need to be pressed again for the fog lights to be turned on.
.

The foglights on Ford BA Falcons work this way. You turn the car on then the headlights and then you can turn the foglights on but when you stop the car and turn of the headlights you need to manually press the foglight switch to turn them on again.

jawm 8:01 am 17 Mar 12

..and for anyone in government who might be reading this… how about a law making it mandatory to have your headlights on whenever you are using your windscreen wipers? (when it’s raining obviously, not just when cleaning the windscreen!)… first came across this in New York state – seems to make a lot of sense to me…

Tooks 7:59 am 17 Mar 12

PrinceOfAles said :

Watson said :

I have never been blinded by fog lights during the day? They look wanky, but that’s the only thing I can say against them. Or am I missing something here?

I get far more worked up about half of the drivers not switching their lights on when there’s fog or rain.

I totally agree. .

Same here. I’ve never been blinded or distracted by them.

Deref 7:57 am 17 Mar 12

I’ve never been dazzled by fog lights, though lots of people use them. They’re low and focussed down onto the road

But nearly every night I’m dazzled by idiots who don’t understand (or don’t care) when to dip their high beam, or whose lights aren’t properly adjusted.

Postalgeek 7:39 am 17 Mar 12

Haven’t noticed fog lights at all. What I have noticed is a large number of stupid drivers who don’t turn their lights on in wet weather. Give me lights on when its sunny any day.

bigred 2:30 am 17 Mar 12

Rear foglights are a great talegater.deterrent. Still not sure what the front mounted “wayne kerr” onesactually achieve.

PrinceOfAles 12:01 am 17 Mar 12

Watson said :

I have never been blinded by fog lights during the day? They look wanky, but that’s the only thing I can say against them. Or am I missing something here?

I get far more worked up about half of the drivers not switching their lights on when there’s fog or rain.

I totally agree. .

bd84 11:59 pm 16 Mar 12

Fog lights are high beam lights, it is no different to driving with your normal high beams on. They do not make your car cooler, they make you look like a moron. They have no use or benefit in conditions other than in fog or very heavy rain, funny enough they’re the only times you can legally use them. Use in conditions other than these only dazzle and blind oncoming and preceding drivers.

The excuse of “I didn’t know they were on” is one of a complete idiot. By law fog lights are required to have their own switch and only work when your headlights are on and there is even a warning light on your dash when they are turned on, the same as there is one for your normal high beams. If you do accidentally have them on, it should only be about 30 seconds until you notice it and rectify it.

It’s time the government gave some more money to the police to fund some proper policing of our roads or road safety. We shouldn’t have the CPO coming out to say that they only focus on some parts of the road rules and rely on media releases that the majority of drivers will never see or hear about.

puggy 10:35 pm 16 Mar 12

SnapperJack said :

Always on fog lights (or DRLs – daytime running lights) were all the rage about ten years ago.

Um, there’s a big difference between DRLs and fog lights. DRLs aren’t illegal and are showing up on more cars, not fewer (mostly in LED form).

Watson 10:26 pm 16 Mar 12

I have never been blinded by fog lights during the day? They look wanky, but that’s the only thing I can say against them. Or am I missing something here?

I get far more worked up about half of the drivers not switching their lights on when there’s fog or rain.

Very Busy 10:16 pm 16 Mar 12

A good approach to this problem would be to change the Australian Design Rules in relation to the front fog light switch. A push button type switch that turns the lights on only until the vehicle is turned off seems like the way to go. When the vehicle is then restarted, the fog light button would need to be pressed again for the fog lights to be turned on.

The rear fog lights on my car can only be operated when the headlights are on. Then, when the headlights are turned off the rear fog lights are also turned off and will not come on again until the headlights are turned on AND the rear fog light switch is also reactivated. ADR’s should also be changed to make this type of setup mandatory.

In the meantime, we’re fighting a losing battle if we want the police to enforce this road rule. On many occasions I have seen police cars driving around in clear weather with fog lights on.

Aeek 10:06 pm 16 Mar 12

A related peeve is the law on using hi-beam is based on ancient tech, modern hi-beams are weapons when used that close..

Deckard 9:34 pm 16 Mar 12

Foglights, meh!!

How about a crackdown on misdirected headlights. Much worse than 90% of foglights out there.

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