It’s such a simple three letter word and yet, for so many drivers, it seems so difficult to understand. As sure as night follows day, you can be certain that as winter rolls around again, countless drivers up and down the country will fail to deal with the simple act of driving in the fog.
The rules are quite simple. Section 226 of the Highway Code states that “You MUST use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced, generally when you cannot see for more than 100 metres (328 feet). You may also use front or rear fog lights but you MUST switch them off when visibility improves”.
Invariably, drivers will be greeted with two buttons. One for the front fogs and one for the back. What’s more, the car manufacturers will have helpfully added a little light to the dashboard that tells the driver that their fogs lights are on. What could possibly go wrong?
Well it largely depends on the driver in question. There’s also a definite split between the front and rear lights, although common sense goes completely out of the window, regardless of the light in question.
Take front fogs for example. We all know that for a small proportion of the population, front fog lights have the ability to turn a rather humdrum motor car in a world rally championship winning weapon. It’s like the two small lights on the front of the car can magically transform the driver into Kris Meeke. With the front fogs blazing, the car gains a few extra horsepower and the overall effect is that your image is greatly enhanced.
Now I’m not a leading authority on design or engineering, but the last time I checked, turning the lights on doesn’t improve a car’s performance. And seriously, turning your fogs on doesn’t turn the ladies on. I put it to you. Do the security lights above your garage magically transform your house into an Italianate villa? No. Would adding a light to the top of your Beko fridge turn it into a much more desirable SMEG? No. It doesn’t work on white goods and buildings and it doesn’t work on your car.
And don’t think that a bit of light morning mist is a good enough excuse to turn on the lights. They’re FOG lights, not MORNING MIST lights. And that man smoking a cigarette across the street? Sorry, that’s not an excuse either. A bit of light drizzle? Nope, it still isn’t fog, is it?
Fog. Remember that word. F.O.G. Fog.
People don’t seem to fare better when it comes to the rear lights either. Some drivers suffer the same affliction that affects the front lights – turning them on when the conditions don’t dictate their use. But worse is the people who fail to turn them off when the fog has cleared. Can they not see the big orange glow on the dashboard. It means your rear fog light is on. So turn it off immediately.
As you sit patiently behind, you can almost feel your retinas burning. It’s like a ray gun being pointed directly into your eyes. You try and keep a safe distance behind, but you soon realise you’re slipping into a coma. So you look for a chance to overtake and once you’re past, you helpfully flash your own rear fogs to let the driver know they’re acting a bit dim. You’re then greeted with one of two responses. They either sit there, vacantly looking into the middle distance. Or, misguidedly thinking you’re one of their chums, start to wave frantically. What’s the point, you think, and head off in search of the next Honda Jazz or Nissan Note.
For fog’s sake – is it too much to ask? Can we have some fogging common sense on the roads?
The advice is simple – if it’s foggy, use your fog lights. If it’s not, switch them off. You know it makes sense.
Road images courtesy of FreeFoto.com.