Calgary

Do you drive with your fog lights on 24-7? One expert wants you to see the light

If you leave your vehicle’s fog lights on all the time, some might call you a jerk, and one driving expert says it can be downright dangerous, so cut it out.

'I don’t know what’s going on, is this a trend?' asked one listener on the popularity of fog light use

This car's high-beam lights are activated. Failing to dim them can cost you. Fog lights also have challenges if you aren't using them appropriately. (David Bell/CBC)

If you leave your vehicle's fog lights on all the time, some might call you a jerk, and one driving expert says it can be downright dangerous, so cut it out.

"We want to make sure we are driving with our proper lights on so we don't blind other drivers and we can see the best we can, as well," Ron Wilson told The Homestretch.

He's a driver education manager with the Alberta Motor Association and he's responding to some questions about lights after a listener to the show left some feedback.

"I notice this year, there are way more people than normal with their lights on high-beam. I am not talking about just the new, fancy lights versus the older lights," David Keegan said in a phone message.

"I can't believe how many people I have seen driving around with their fog lights on, full-beam, their high-beams. I don't know what's going on. Is this a trend? This is Calgary. I can see the mountains from where I am. There is no need to have the fog lights or high-beams on."

Hard for oncoming drivers

Wilson says fog lights have their purpose, but some people leave them on all the time either due to not knowing better or laziness.

"Fog lights are designed to increase visibility during low-visibility situations, like fog or hard snow. There is a wide-beam pattern to light up the road. The beam is aimed much closer to the vehicle than standard headlights," Wilson said.

"But if it's good visibility, fog lights can be very bright so that can be hard on vehicles coming toward you. Some vehicles have rear fog lights as well, which will be brighter than your tail lights. They are only supposed to be used in fog-like conditions. In regular conditions in the dark, they can be confusing for drivers who could think they are stop lights."

Daytime running lights need attention too

Wilson says if you don't use daytime running lights correctly, they can be a problem too.

"You want to turn your headlights on at all times, or a lot of vehicles have an automatic switch or daytime running lights switch, so engage that. With most vehicles, if you are relying on your daytime running lights without actually having the switch turned on, you may have your dash lights on but you don't have your tail lights on," Wilson said.

"That creates a situation we call phantom vehicles, a vehicle driving in the dark without lights on. It creates a dangerous situation."

Illegal?

Halogen lights are legal if they have not been tinted or colourized and they're popular because they are simple to replace, he added, but be respectful when using your car's high beams.

"You can get ticketed if you fail to dim your lights for oncoming vehicles within 300 metres, or 150 metres following another driver."

With files from The Homestretch

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