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Winter drivers advised to watch out for common mistake that brings £50 fine

Commuters queue in heavy snowfalls on a country road in a forest of the Taunus region near Frankfurt, Germany, early Tuesday, Nov 28 (AP)
Commuters queue in heavy snowfalls on a country road in a forest of the Taunus region near Frankfurt, Germany, early Tuesday, Nov 28 (AP)

As temperatures begin to plummet across the UK, drivers have been warned against a mistake that is all-too-easy to make in wintry conditions.

Fog lights have a very specific use, only to be deployed when fog means you cannot see further than 100 metres. However, when visibility improves beyond this range, they must be switched off.

This is due to the risk of dazzling oncoming drivers on the other side of the road. While not as dazzling as high beams, fog lights are also distracting and so increase the chance of incident.

This is set out in Rule 236 of the Highway Code: “You MUST NOT use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced as they dazzle other road users and can obscure your brake lights.” Failure to comply with this rule could see you hit with a £50 fine.

A car drives through the snow near Birkenhead (AFP via Getty Images)
A car drives through the snow near Birkenhead (AFP via Getty Images)

Dan Jones, operations manager at DrivingExperience.com, has warned that drivers must remember to switch their fog lights off when the weather improves: “Sometimes it is easy to forget you have put your fog lights on as you can’t see them while driving in lighter conditions.

“Failing to do so could mean that not only could you dazzle an oncoming driver and cause an accident, you could also be hit with a £50 fine due to breaking The Highway Code.”

Mr Jones added: “Last year, nearly 6,000 collisions caused were because a driver’s vision was affected by external factors which could include dazzling lights, so it is important to be alert to the conditions when they improve.

“Fog lights are generally switched on manually by the driver. With more cars now featuring automated systems, it is quite easy to forget they’re on, or even think they’ve turned off naturally when conditions improve.”