When should you use your foglights? Tips for driving in poor visibility

Traffic makes it's way through dense fog between junctions 4 and 3 of the M3 Motorway in near to Frimley in Hampshire PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday November 2, 2015. See PA story WEATHER . Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

As the winter weather draws in, we all dream of pillowy soft snowdrifts and crisp winter mornings – but what we normally end up with is torrential rain, driving sleet and thick fog.

All of these conditions can reduce visibility drastically, making it incredibly important from a safety perspective both to see and to be seen. That means it's essential to use your lights correctly – something not everybody manages, even when visibility is good.

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First of all, headlights. Remember to check your headlight bulbs regularly, and be sure they operate on all three settings – sidelights, dipped beam and main beam. You should turn your dipped headlights on as soon as darkness or weather begins restricting visibility.

A good rule of thumb for poor weather is 'wipers on, lights on'. Also, check your headlight aim – most cars have an adjustable height setting, depending on how heavily laden your car is. Correct use of this is essential to avoid dazzling other road users.

Check your taillights, too – you should have driving lights, brake lights, and a central high-intensity light all working correctly. Then, move on to fog lights.

All cars in the UK have a rear foglight by law. It's normally activated by a separate switch near your headlights, and it's essential that it's switched on when visibility drops below 100m.

Equally, it's vital that you switch it off again when visibility improves – again, to avoid dazzling other drivers.

Front foglights aren't legal equipment, but they can aid visibility in poor weather. You should avoid using your main beam headlights in fog, and instead opt for a combination of dipped headlights and front and rear foglights.

You'll be able to tell when your foglights are on, as a symbol will illuminate on the dashboard. Remember, you could be fined by police for using your fog lights incorrectly – the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations say it's illegal to use your lights to dazzle drivers coming towards you.

Equally, the act says you must use the correct lighting for the conditions. If you're involved in a collision and it's found you weren't using your foglights correctly, your insurance could be invalidated.

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