What Are Fog Lights On A Car And How To Use Fog Light Symbols While Driving?

Fog lights must be used at the proper times to combat reduced visibility, by not doing so, you may endanger yourself and other drivers.

Using them at the proper time ought to aid safe driving, however, their usage when unwarranted can mean that you are breaking the law and endangering other drivers.

To help motorists keep be as safe as possible, here’s a helpful look into the way to drive in the fog, how to use your fog lights, and how to understand your fog lights symbols.

What Do Fog Lights Do?

The whole purpose of fog lights is so that you can see the road on which you are travelling, with clarity. This is because we do not have a compatible climatic condition in the UK, and are sometimes prone to experiencing extreme temperatures, which also includes fog, all of which make driving extremely difficult. Front fog lights can cut through mist, fog, rain or even dust as they are mounted lower down than headlights in the front of the car. Fog lights can also be used to drive in winter, when visibility is low, which is a major winter driving tip.

Rear fog lights are used to alert the drivers behind us of the presence of a vehicle ahead of them.


Where Are The Fog Lights On A Car?

Fog lights are present on the rear and front of vehicles. Since front fog lights are not legally required, many manufacturers do not provide front fog lights.

If your vehicle does have front fog lights, these are usually found below the headlights, and illuminate the road directly in front of you.

Rear fog lights are shine at the back, alerting the vehicles behind you of your presence. At least one rear fog light will be found on vehicles, as it is a legal requirement.

Daytime running lights (DRL), on the other hand, are completely different, and are always on. They are mostly to make your car more visible, than to provide extra illumination. They have been a legal requirement in the UK since 2011.

What Are The Fog Light Symbols?

Fog light symbols - to turn them on or off - can usually be found on a button on the dashboard, on a steering wheel stalk, or next to the dial you use to control your regular lights.

Also Read: Car Dashboard Warning Lights

Here is what your fog light switch might look like, if it is on your steering wheel:

Front Fog Light:

Front fog lights are depicted by a lamp pointing to the left and with lines pointing diagonally down through the vertical wavy line.

Front Fog Light
Rear fog light:

Rear fog lights are depicted by a lamp pointing in the opposite direction, with lines pointing horizontally straight through the wavy line.

Rear Fog Light

When To Use Fog Lights

In normal driving conditions, fog lights should never be made use of. Fog lights should be used strictly when there is a reduced visibility for the driver when there is snow or thick fog or mist covering the road ahead. Fog lights can also be used when there is heavy spray on the motorway.

Using high beam lights can reduce your visibility in any of these conditions, as the light can be reflected off the fog or mist, making it harder for you to see the road ahead.

One major point to keep in mind regarding fog lights is that the Highway Code does not make it a requirement to use fog lights and asks that you do not use your fog lights until and unless the visibility is at its worst. This is because fog lights can dazzle the driver coming in your opposite direction, which can be catastrophic.

Rear fog lights should always be switched on whenever visibility is poor, as they are there to alert other road users of your presence, not just to give you a clearer view of what’s behind you.

When Should You Not Use Fog Lights? Will You Be Fined For That?

As mentioned earlier, you should not use your fog lights when the visibility is fine, in normal conditions, after the fog has cleared. This is because fog lights can dazzle other road users.

According to rule 236 of the Highway Code, "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."

Rear fog lights can be always used, though, as they are designed to alert the drivers behind you of your presence.

Fog lights are also not to be used when it is wet, as the extra brightness of fog lights can result in their reflection off a wet road surface, and can cause unnecessary dazzling reflections, which is not good.

Using fog lights in drizzle and rain is not allowed, and you are even eligible for a fine from the police if caught. So, make sure that you switch off your fog lights once the fog has lifted.

How Should You Use Your Car’s Fog Lights?

There are separate buttons to operate Fog lights, with some cars using buttons to activate them – one for the rear, one for the front, while others feature a collar on the light stalk that you turn back and forth to turn them on.

You can use your car’s fog lights using the buttons assigned for them, about which we discussed above.

How To Turn On Your Fog Lights?

While most cars have fog lights buttons placed at the same location, some cars may have them in a different place. Check your owner’s manual to know where your fog light controls are located.

In older vehicles, it is common to find the fog light buttons on your indicator stick, to the left of your steering wheel. In newer vehicles, fog lights are generally controlled via a knob on the panel directly under an air conditioning vent.

Using these buttons, you can turn on your fog lights.

How Do You Know That Your Fog Lights Are On?

Most vehicles will have a separate button to switch on the fog lights, which, when turned on, will be illuminated, which will show you that the lights are turned on.

The symbol for the front fog lights, as stated above, is an oval-shaped lamp with three diagonal lines intersected with a wavy vertical line to the left of it.

The symbol for the rear fog lights is an oval-shaped lamp with three horizontal lines bisected by a wavy vertical line on its right.

When Should You Turn Your Fog Lights Off?

As per the Highway Code, fog lights should be switched off when the visibility is normal, or if it improves after a period of being foggy. Leaving the fog lights on can dazzles drivers ahead. Neither the front nor the rear fog lights can be left turned on when your vehicle is parked, or you may get fined for incorrect usage of your fog lights.

Do All Cars Have Fog Lights?

It is legally required to have at least one rear fog light, in the UK, so every car will have at least one rear fog light. Since front fog lights are not a legal requirement, most car manufacturers only offer them in the high-end models. They can be found below the headlights.

What Is The Difference Between Daytime Running Lights And Fog Lights

An LED strip on the front of some cars are called Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and have been fitted to all new cars in the UK since 2011. They turn on whenever the car is switched on and are there to make the car more visible to other road users. They do not perform the same function as front fog lights.

If your car is fitted with automatic lights activated by low light levels, remember to check the lights are on, as they may not be automatically activated in foggy conditions.

Similarly, drivers whose vehicles have daytime running lights should ensure rear lights are switched on as most vehicles with this feature only illuminate the front lights.

Fog Lights Q And A

1. How do I turn my fog lights on?

Most cars come with a separate button to turn fog lights on or off. Use these to turn your fog lights on.

2. Do fog lights really work?

Yes, they work well, but should only be used for their intended purpose - to help increase your visibility in poor climatic conditions.

3. Do all cars have fog lights?

Since rear fog lights are compulsory, every car will have at least one rear fog light. Front fog lights are not compulsory, so only few cars come with them.

4. What is the purpose of fog lights in a car?

Whenever the visibility of the road is decreased due to climatic conditions, fog lights help you increase that visibility.

5. Which lights do you use in fog?

Generally, main headlights are to be used in low visibility conditions. Fog lights should be used only when the visibility falls to less than 100m.

6. Why should you turn your fog lights off when visibility improves?

Not turning off your fog lights after visibility improves will result in the dazzling of other drivers, which is not good for them or you either.


The concept of using fog lights is a bit tricky, especially for first time drivers. Here's hoping that you have gotten a clear picture of what they are, and when you are supposed to use them. Always be careful while using fog lights, and more than anything else, make sure that you are safe while driving. If you feel unsafe while driving, stop your car and move only when you feel safe. Apart from that, you can always use a breakdown cover and a warranty for your car, which will come in handy should anything go wrong. Warranty Direct offers one of the most highly competitive Warranty and breakdown covers in the UK which you can take up today.

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