Driving in fog, even for the experienced motorist can be a frightening experience. Given the dangerous circumstances of driving in fog, it’s important to keep as safe as is possible and this can be achieved by using fog lights.
Are fog lights a legal requirement?
In the UK it is a legal requirement to have at least one rear fog light which must be located on the vehicle centre line or to the off-side (the driver’s side). All cars built for the European market come fitted with at least the minimum legal fog light requirements. Front fog lights are optional and there is no legal obligation to have them fitted. More expensive makes and models of cars may have them fitted.
When to use fog lights
Motorists are often unsure when exactly fog lights should and shouldn’t be used. Although it is a legal requirement to have fog lights fitted, there is no legal obligation to actually use them, even when it’s foggy.
Using them in foggy conditions will of course increase safety. If your vehicle has rear fog lights only, it will increase your visibility for other motorists when turned on. Turn on fog lights when visibility is reduced to around 100 metres and less. It can be a little difficult to judge 100 metres, so think along the lines of the length of a football pitch.
When your fog lights are activated, a symbol light will illuminate on your dashboard. For further information on the type of symbol you can expect to see, see
Turn off fog lights
Remember however to turn off your fog lights if the fog clears. Keeping fog lights on when visibility is clear is hazardous for other motorists. Drivers following behind will be dazzled by the very bright rear fog light(s), particularly at night. It is illegal to drive with fog light on in clear weather conditions.
If stopped by the police, you may be lucky enough to be let off with a verbal warning, ultimately however, you may be issued with a non-endorsable (no penalty points) Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) which comes with a fine of £30.
Fog lights and the MOT
For a car of three or more years of age, to be driven legally on UK public roads it must hold a valid MOT certificate. As at least one rear fog light is also a legal requirement, all fog lights must be in good working condition, else an MOT will be failed. Many MOT’s are failed each year due to the lack of simply checking all lights are working.
For the sake of checking your cars lights, including all fog lights fitted, you can save yourself significant costs at the MOT garage. Bulbs are relatively cheap and easy to purchase. Fitting can be awkward, especially in modern compact cars, but with a little perseverance and patience, it helps to keep the potentially huge MOT costs down. For further information on a car MOT, see: