Driving through fog can be a stressful situation. With limited visibility, it can be difficult to judge what’s coming ahead. As you may know, using the high beams in foggy situations actually lessens your visibility due to the lights reflecting off the water particles.

In order to help drivers be safe in bad weather conditions, auto manufacturers include fog lights on certain models of vehicles. These lights are positioned lower than your normal driving lights to prevent any reflected light from coming back at you. Fog also tends to hover above the ground, so these fog lights will likely be able to reach further than your regular headlights.

What the fog indicator warning lights mean

Like your normal headlights, there is an indicator light on your dashboard to let you know when the fog lights are illuminated. Some vehicles have rear fog lights in which case there are two lights on the dash, one for each direction. The indicator for the front lights is usually light green in color and faces towards the left, just like the headlight indicator. The rear indicator will typically be amber or orange and will be pointed to the right. These are only indicators that the switch is sending power to the bulbs, so be sure to check the bulbs themselves occasionally. Some cars have a separate warning light to let you know of any burned out bulbs.

Is is safe to drive with the fog indicator warning lights on?

If it’s foggy outside, then you should be using the fog lights to help your visibility. However, many drivers forget to turn them off once the weather has cleared up. Like any light bulb, fog lights have a limited lifespan and leaving them on for too long will quickly burn them out and next time it’s foggy, your fog lights may not be functional.

When you start the car, check the dash before you set off to make sure the fog lights aren’t on unnecessarily. This way you will not burn out the lights prematurely and you’ll be able to use them next time the weather isn’t looking too great.

If your fog lights won’t turn on, our certified technicians are available to help you diagnose any issues with them.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as What Do Fog Indicator Warning Lights Mean? and was authored by Spencer Cates.


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