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We hope these tips are helpful to you. They are intended as general guidance for driving in the UK, and they do not amount to legal advice. We encourage you to view the Highway Code for the latest detailed rules and guidance. There are lots of other sources where you can find more advice too, including the websites of reputable breakdown services.

Fog is known to be one of the most dangerous weather conditions to drive in. It reduces visibility significantly, which can cause serious accidents on the road – not to mention traffic jams due to lots of slowly moving traffic. That’s why we’d recommend avoiding the roads until the fog starts to clear up if possible.

However, we do understand that in some cases you might need to get on the road straight away, or the fog might form suddenly whilst you’re already driving. That’s why we’ve put together some top tips for how you can stay safe while out and about when the visibility is poor.

When should you use fog lights?

Fog lights are designed for when visibility is severely reduced - specifically for fog, but also in extreme weather conditions such as driving in snow to help you be seen by other road users.

The main purpose of fog lights is to make sure you’re as visible as possible to other vehicles rather than helping you see – but as they give a low, wide beam, they can also sometimes help illuminate the side of the road when you’re driving slowly.

Many drivers get confused as to when fog lights should be used and aren’t aware that it’s against the law to use them in certain conditions. The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 bans drivers to use their front and rear fog lights when visibility isn’t severely reduced. This is because they can dazzle other drivers which can be extremely dangerous. So, you really need to make sure you’re only using them when they’re needed.

The Highway Code (Rule 226) states you should only use fog lights if you can’t see up to 100 metres in front of you (as an example, if you’re driving at 50mph, this would be the equivalent of not being able to see up to 4 seconds in front of you). When you do turn them on, avoid also using full beam, as fog reflects light back which could actually reduce your visibility more. 

Remember, when the fog is cleared you need to switch off your fog lights immediately to make sure you’re not breaking the law and dazzling other drivers.

How to drive safely in fog

There are a few vital tips to staying safe if you get caught in fog. Although the first, obvious piece of advice is to turn on your fog lights if the fog is thick to make yourself as visible as possible to other vehicles, there are also some other important things to keep in mind while you’re driving:

  • If you start to see fog in front of you, check your mirrors to see what’s behind you and start to gradually slow down
  • In light fog, avoid using your fog lights as they can dazzle other road users
  • Keep a distance between you and the vehicle in front. The normal recommendation is a two second gap, but for foggy conditions you should double this distance to four seconds. This is to make sure you have time to react if the traffic suddenly slows down or stops
  • Never use the taillights of another vehicle to guide you: this is dangerous, as it’s easy to become too focused on one thing without looking at what’s happening around you 
  • Always remember to use your wipers, which will help you see as clearly as possible
  • When driving at night, avoid using high beams. The brightness of high beams can make it more difficult for you to see in front, as the light bounces back off the fog
  • If the fog is particularly thick, it can be useful to wind your window down if you’re at a junction to hear if any cars are coming – but we’d always recommend pulling over to a safe spot if it gets too bad

What's the difference between fog and mist?

Fog and mist can quite often be confused with each other, as they both look similar and can both limit visibility. Many drivers mistakenly turn their fog lights on when it’s in fact mist – this then can be dangerous to yourself and to other road users, so it’s vital to know the difference.

The key difference between fog and mist, is that with fog you can’t see further than 100m in front of you, but with mist, you’ll be able to see further than that (for example, further than the length of a football pitch).

How to check your fog lights

Naturally, you’re more likely to see more fog on the roads during the colder months of the year. If you’re driving a new car, it’s important that you’re familiar with the equipment your vehicle has, and how to use it in case you’re caught up in bad weather.

Firstly, make sure you’re familiar with where your fog lights are on your car (front and/or back). It’s a legal requirement to have fog lights at the rear of your vehicle, but not all cars have them on the front as well.  

You also need to know what the fog light switch looks like and where it is in your car so you can quickly turn them on and off when you need to. 

Every car is different, so we’d recommend always checking your car manual so you’re aware of how to turn your fog lights on. Each Suzuki car has an owner’s handbook, which will help you navigate around your car. You can find it online here - you’ll just need your VIN to hand to open it.