Is It Legal to Drive with Fog Lights on?

It is totally okay to drive with your fog lights on since no state or country illegalizes it. But, as their name sounds, fog lights are meant to be on when there is rainy or foggy weather, and the headlight beams don’t suffice.

However, driving with turned-on fog lights not mounted according to the law or don’t follow other state rules may get you a ticket. So, for that, you need to know about the vehicle lighting law in your state. If there is no issue with your fog lights, you can safely keep them on as you drive. Although, that may be unnecessary most of the time.

Safety Factors to Remember About Fog Lights

First of all, not all state has specific rules about fog lights or how you must operate them. But almost all of them limited their height to install them within that. Let’s talk about these factors in detail-

Height Limit of Fog Lights

In most states, the height limit of fog lights is 12-30 inches. Some states like Virginia haven’t touched upon the height limit as of writing, but you should still keep it between 12-24 inches. It is also for your own safety, as when you mount them over this height, the beams from the lamps may reflect on the fog. Yes, warmer hues like yellow or amber-colored lights can penetrate the haze better than white lights. But you still shouldn’t install the fog lamps too high and keep them within a safe limit.

Required Colored for Fog Lights

First, look up which colors are prohibited by your state to use on the front of your vehicle. It is highly likely red and blue as almost all states illegalized them. So, when you are buying any fog light, avoid these colors. Moreover, some states limit the colors you can use on fog lamps. For example-

  • In Colorado, you can only use white or amber fog lights or any shade in-between white and amber.
  • You can use only white or amber colors for fog lights in Washington.

I advise using amber ones, as they perform better than white ones during precipitations or foggy conditions.

Auxiliary Lamp Limits

Note that fog lights are a type of auxiliary lamp. And all states have limitations on how many auxiliary lights you can use on your vehicle. In most states, it is two. So, if you have other auxiliary lamps already installed, you may need to remove them to make way for fog lights so as not to break the limit and law.

The Fog Lights Should Accompany the Headlights

While fog lights are to give you better visibility in foggy conditions, it is only just a bonus or additional lighting equipment. You must also keep your headlights on when the law requires them, along with the fog light. If your state wants you to keep headlights lighted under adverse weather, you should do that. Lighting the fog lights simultaneously will give you better safety. Remember that fog lights are additional lights, not alternative ones.

Beam Angle

You may find rules about the auxiliary light having to aim down properly. While many of those codes may sound confusing or hard to interpret, you should still try to understand and follow them. Having headlights or fog lights that glare at other drivers’ eyes is a serious offense in many states and countries.

Intensity Limit

Some states have limitations on how intense auxiliary bulbs can be. For example, you cannot use an auxiliary bulb with an intensity of over 402 lumens in New York.

Rear Fog Lights

It is best to turn off the rear fog lights when not in foggy or similar weather. They are only meant to signal other drivers of your position amidst the fog. But when the visibility is high, having them on may distract or dazzle others.

Some Special Fog Light Restrictions on the Different States

  • In Oregon, you must turn off your fog lights when an approaching car is within 500 feet or you are following another vehicle within 350 feet distance.
  • Florida strictly prohibits the usage of fog lights when you are near other people or vehicles on the road in clear weather.
  • Washington wants you to use only white or amber fog lights.
  • Colorado limits the usage of fog lights within white, amber, or any shade in between.
  • Other states like Georgia, New York, or NC prohibit red or blue colors or any flashing lights.

Why Shouldn’t You Use Fog Lights When the Sky Is Clear?

Fog lights aren’t meant to be used in clear weather. There are some reasons why you shouldn’t use them unless it is foggy. They are as follows-

  • The beams from the fog lights may distract or glare at other drivers.
  • Keeping the fog lights on unnecessarily is a waste of energy and cost.
  • The fog lights aren’t manufactured to be on for too long. They may heat up.
  • The peace officers may not like it and pull you over.

Final Note

It is legal to drive with fog lights on. But you must do it according to the law and at the right time. Of course, nobody will stop you if you use them in foggy, misty, or precipitating weather. But other than that, using them can be dangerous for others on the road as fog lights are usually warmer and attract eyes more.

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