Thursday January 30 2014

Pocket dictionary : Fog lights

By Jude Katende

Just how many lights are on our cars and inside them? Quite many, but do we know all of their uses or even their names? Ever heard of number plate lights? Could be confusing to some, but yes, the number plate (especially the rear one) does have small lights which must work because your registration needs to be visible to other road users and the traffic police.

Whereas we have lights on the side of some doors, side steps (on some modern cars), main driving lights, parking lights, brake lights, boot light, side lights, indicators, interior dome light, today we’ll look at fog lights. Just asthey are called, fog lights are supposed to be used under foggy or heavy weather conditions.

Some fog lights are incorporated within the frame of the main headlamp while on most cars; they are usually on or below the front bumper. The rear fog lights are within the main rear headlamp. Fog lights are usually white, yellow or blue. According to, front fog lights are generally low mounted, high intensity, short-range lights that may be yellow or white in colour.

Rear fog lights are red in colour and are about the same intensity as a brake light. Rear fog lights are intended to make the vehicle more conspicuous in foggy conditions, while front fog lights are intended to improve visibility by penetrating fog.

The fog lights installed at the back of the car serve to warn other drivers of the car’s presence. Usually, the rear fog lights are wired on a separate circuit, apart from the rest of the car’s lighting. Some motorists often confuse front fog lights with driving lights.

“However they differ from driving lights in that they must operate independently of headlights. Driving lights may only operate in conjunction with high beam headlights. Also the beam pattern and illumination range of the two are quite different,” the online source explains.
Misuse of fog lights

A common source of motorist complaints, misuse of fog lights is punishable in some countries. Fog lights may only be used when adverse weather conditions, such as fog or heavy rain, reduce visibility.

Drivers who use their fog lights when visibility is normal or only slightly reduced could be pulled over by an officer. They may even face a fine if the officer deems the use of the fog lights inappropriate given the weather conditions.