Fog Light Symbol: When To Use Fog Lights And Driving In Fog

Fog lights are an important safety feature on your car. It enables you to see better in foggy weather conditions where visibility is much reduced and will help other drivers on the road to see you. When used properly, they can help you stay safe behind the wheel, but when misused, you could endanger other drivers and break the law.

In this article, we outline when to use your fog lights and what to do when driving in fog.

What is the fog light symbol?

There is a universal fog light symbol for the front and rear fog lights on your car, you can find buttons for the fog lights usually on the left side of your steering wheel. It is commonly attached to the indicator stalk. It is meant to represent fog or reduced visibility weather conditions. Think of the oval shape as your vehicle’s light and the squiggly line with dashes through it as the fog.

The front fog light symbol


Fog lights front symbol

The front fog light symbol has a half-oval shape on the right, a lamp pointing to the left and denoting a forward orientation. It has diagonal lines through the vertical squiggly line.

The rear fog light symbol


Fog light rear symbol

The rear fog light symbol has the opposite orientation, with the lamp pointing to the right while the vertical squiggly line has straight horizontal lines through it.

When to use fog lights

Only use fog lights when there is fog and visibility is severely restricted. The Highway Code (no. 226) suggests the following: ​​”You MUST use your headlights when visibility is seriously reduced, generally when you cannot see for more than 100 metres (328 feet). You may also use front or rear fog lights but you MUST switch them off when visibility improves.”

Rule 236 in the Highway Code furthermore suggests “You MUST NOT use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced (see Rule 226) as they dazzle other road users and can obscure your brake lights. You MUST switch them off when visibility improves.”

If they are used in clear conditions they are more likely to startle a driver or another driver could be confused as to whether or not you are braking as on some vehicles they are close together and it could result in a rear-end collision. Additionally, the red reflection can cause glare through another car or truck’s windscreen further weakening visibility.

Don’t use fog lights when it’s raining or in wet conditions where there is no fog whatsoever as the brightness of the lights will be exaggerated further by the reflection of the wet road surface and can dazzle oncoming traffic.

Fog is fairly common in the morning so it is important to remember when the fog clears up, evaluate the visibility and turn them off if feasible.

How to turn on fog lights

It is important to check your owner’s manual on where the fog light controls are located, location will differ between vehicle makes and models.

On older vehicles, it is fairly common for these to be located on your indicator stick to the left of your steering wheel. There should be a rotating knob that you can turn towards you to turn on. On newer vehicles, however, the fog lights are usually controlled via a knob on the panel directly under an air conditioning vent.

In modern vehicles, it’s worth using the automatic setting so that the car’s computer adjusts itself to the appropriate light setting. However, if absolutely needed, the driver can turn the dial to point toward the fog light symbol. Generally, fog lights will turn off when you turn the car’s ignition off, however, if you choose to turn them on manually, they will come back on the next time you start the car.

For the winter months when more adverse weather conditions occur in particular, perform a quick light inspection to ensure you have the safest option turned on. For most vehicles, this is simply the headlights or the automatic light setting.

Fog with car in woods

Fog light laws and regulations in the UK

Highway code rules Rule 226 to 237 “Driving in adverse weather conditions (226 to 237)” are the primary regulations that address fog light use. This section of the Highway Code includes important advice on driving in adverse weather conditions in general, like driving in snow and ice. Rules 234 to 236 deal with driving in fog specifically, it is advisable to read the advice in full to stay safe on the road.

Rule 226 states “You may also use front or rear fog lights but you MUST switch them off when visibility improves.”

You can face a fine of £50 if you use your fog lights when you’re not supposed to and the police pull you over.

Do all cars have fog lights?

It is a legal requirement for all cars registered after 1980 in the UK to have rear fog lights. This doesn’t apply to front fog lights but if a vehicle has them then it is recommended that they are utilised in severe conditions.

Most modern cars, generally mid-spec and above, have a strip of light on the front called Daytime Running Lights (DRL) that have been mandatory on passenger cars and light goods vehicle types from February 2011. These are not the same as fog lights.

A Daytime Running Light (DRL) is a low-wattage light that can be fitted to a vehicle and used during the day to improve visibility to other drivers. Activated when the engine starts, they turn off automatically when the engine stops or when the headlights are turned on at night.

Are low beams and fog lights the same?

No, these two lights have their own assemblies and are not connected to each other. They each have their own distinct beams as well. Headlights sit above the bumper and have a more forward orientation to allow the driver to see further ahead. On the other hand, fog lights are designed to illuminate the road in particular.

Image Credit: Fog Lights Front Richard Nixon, Fog Light by P Thanga Vignesh from