How and when to use fog lamps - without being annoying

Sanjay · Sep 23, 2020 11:17 PM

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Oh it’s one of those topics again. Written many times, shared even more, but somehow people still get it muddled. Honestly it’s feeling like the Proton X50’s ‘what’s the price?’ question (no, the price isn’t out yet, here’s why) because people still bang on about it with unfounded theories. 

2018 Honda Civic 1.5TC Premium Exterior 022

Good - they're not supposed to be on all the time.

And what’s the issue this time? Oh yeah, fog lamps.

Bad rep because of misuse

Right, contrary to conventional ricer beliefs fog lamps are actually - would you believe it? - practical!

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Yeah, no...don't do this.

More than just another port to stick RGB bulbs in, fog lamps complement headlights but have a lower light direction, helping with visibility during er, foggy or other low-visibility situations.

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Their bad reputation here is due to people misusing them in all sorts of ways. So, before you or someone close gets named-and-shamed on a random Facebook group, here’s your simple guide on correct fog lamp usage. 

#1: Knowing your fog lamp controls

Sometimes they’re honest mistakes, being accidentally switched on. Fog lamp icons look like this:

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Or you can imagine them as jellyfishes. Whatever works! Photo source.

How these icons look are standard across all makes and models: front wavy lines equal front fog lamps, rear wavy lines mean rear fog lamps.

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Most cars have them on the light stalk, such as this Toyota Vios.

Most cars have the switches on the stalk, but on some cars, they can be buttons.

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Meanwhile, other cars use buttons. This is a BMW 3 Series.

If you can’t find them, it always helps to take a look at your owner’s manual to see where exactly these controls are. 

#2: When to use fog lamps

Stating the obvious, fog lamps are to be used in foggy situations, especially recommended when visibility drops below 100 meters (328 feet).

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A quick way to estimate is like this: if you're finding it hard to see the car in front of you, then be safe, be smart, and switch them on. Still, use your judgement - just because it's raining, it doesn't mean you should use your rear foglamps or even hazard lights for that matter.

Don't forget to switch them off when the fog's lifted!

Before you leave, remember...

That's all there is to it really! Know where your switches are, and only use them when the situation calls for it. It's absolutely nowhere near rocket science.

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If you're seeing these 24/7, you're doing it wrong

But it's still serious business, because using fog lamps wrongly is also punishable under Section 119 of the Road Transport Act 1987, which may incur fines of no more than RM2,000 or a jail term of not more than six months.

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Rear fog lamp on a Toyota Prius. Why is there only one?

These rules are really easy to follow, and make our roads better for all. So make sure you abide!

Sanjay

Writer

With humble beginnings collecting diecast models and spending hours virtually tuning dream cars on the computer, his love of cars has delightfully transformed into a career. Sanjay enjoys how the same passion for cars transcends boundaries and brings people together.

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