Newsflash: fog lights are for use in fog

I have a new pet peeve, which is:

Misaligned/misplaced foglights that are left on by discourteous drivers all the time.

First, let’s discuss properly configured foglights. Foglights are intended to be brighter and lower to the ground than your headlights, resulting in more light reflecting off the ground back to you, and less light that is simply glare in the fog at headlight-level. Because of the extra brightness, properly configured foglights also have a sharp cutoff so as to not blind other drivers – distance with foglights is not needed because if you are driving in fog, you shouldn’t be driving fast to begin with.

Now, let’s talk about misaligned foglights. Unfortunately, not all foglights are used like they are supposed to be. Because foglights are lower to the ground, they are more subject to misalignment, and I don’t think (can anyone verify this?) there are any regulations for foglight alignment. Also, a lot of American cars (and some imports) don’t seem to understand the function of foglights and make them without the proper cutoff or even bother with alignment. They seem to think they are simply an auxiliary headlamp. A “low” high-beam.

Now, let’s talk about misplaced foglights. Let’s talk about big honking gas-guzzling road-hogging piece of shit SUVs (which are another pet peeve altogether) with foglights mounted at approximately the eye-level of other drivers. Foglights don’t do any good if they are 4 feet off the ground. This makes them, in fact, not fog lights at all, but rather super bright auxiliary headlamps. Let’s talk about having some asshole in an Excursion creep up on your bumper blaring 100 watts of light into your rearview mirror. Let’s talk about nearly driving off the road, blinded because some idiot rounds the corner on an unlit street with his high beams and foglights on. (If car manufacturers had any sense they would make the wiring so that using high beams and foglights at the same time was impossible).

example of good foglights on a BMW M5 example of bad foglights on a GMC
Good foglights. Bad foglights.

So, in conclusion (repeat after me):

  1. Fog lights are not for use in clear weather
  2. Fog lights are not for use in average rain (this is somewhat debatable, but even light low to the ground will not help illuminate wet pavement – in fact, it will probably just reflect it into some other poor sap’s eyes)
  3. Fog lights are not auxiliary headlights so that you can illuminate the 100 yards in front of you like a baseball stadium
  4. Fog lights are not ornamental. Leaving them on doesn’t make you look cool, it makes you look like an inconsiderate idiot.
  5. Fog lights are for .. are you ready? .. FOG!

Drive safely.