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Fog lights a danger to motorcyclists

Fog lights dazzling

The rampant use of fog lights on cars causes riders dangerous glare, yet police seem more interested in speeding infringements than patrolling for illegal use of fog lights, says Australian Motorcycle Council spokesman Guy Stanford.

He says he witnesses a lot of cars driving home in western Sydney with their fog lights on, yet the highway patrol officers ignore them and are more interested in catching speeders.

“The message delivered to road users is that allowing glare is acceptable as long as the vehicle is below the speed limit,” he wrote in his submission to the Senate Select Committee Inquiry into Road Safety.

Fog lights are standard on many modern vehicles and can be fitted to the front and rear of any vehicles, including motorcycles.Fog lights
However, they can only be used when there’s low visibility caused by fog or other hazardous weather conditions. Misuse of fog lights can cost a motorist a hefty fine and loss of points.

Guy says the fog lamp issue is prevalent where he lives on the western edge of the Blue Mountains with plenty of twisty, rural roads and large elevation changes.

“Having a car on low beam HIDs come over a crest with a curve can be blinding and leaves you struggling to pick up the corner entry which is somewhere to the right behind the lights,” he says.
“On a narrow rural road this can be difficult. The saving grace is that as you approach the car, the glare disappears, due to the accurate cut-off of a low beam.

“This is not the case with foglamps, particularly those that have become misaligned – it gets worse as you get closer.”Fog lights
He says riders sit fairly high and may not cop a lot of glare, but he has experienced car drivers in the line of sight of the fog lamp suddenly and alarmingly slam on their brakes in front of him.

“The worst (glare) conditions on the bike are when there are squalls of very fine rain, it’s not fog and it’s not mist,” he says.

“There’s not enough water to wash the visor, so any glare becomes blinding as it reflects off the tiny droplets. If you’re returning from a weekend away and have any dust on the visor and get a short dose of fine rain (as is very common at these elevations), the glare from fog lamps is enough to force you to open the visor.

“You are blinded and cannot see the corner entry.

“Your single-vehicle crash will be recorded as ‘speeding’, creating self-serving statistics for ramping up speed enforcement.”Fog lights

Guy says about a quarter of rural road crashes occur between 6pm and 6am, with the higher proportion on the weekend.

“These tend to be severe. A big chunk of them are single vehicle crashes,” he says.

“The glare vehicle passes by and has no idea the oncoming vehicle just left the road to crash as they couldn’t see the corner entry.”

Guy says every lit fog lamp is an indicator that road authorities would rather target low-level speeding to harvest the revenue.Fog lights

“Either the Road Rule is pointless and should be removed from the list, or enforced on the basis of evidentiary problems of crashes caused by glare,” he says.

“Except that those crashes were probably coded as ‘speeding’, so they conclude the glare problem doesn’t exist – in which case we have to ask why is the fog lamp Road Rule there at all?

“It might just be telling us that the person driving with their fog lamps on is selfish.”

  1. It’s not just the illegal use of fog lights Guy. I live in country Victoria, but work where ever the job takes me. I see the neglect by police (not picking on the cops, as I know they are following what command has told them to do) everytime i venture to and from home base. Misaligned headlights are a killer, but no one enforces the letter of the law. Problem here in Victoria, and it does not matter whether it has a labor or liberal government, thier reliance upon speed camera revenue and the pig ignorant view that speed kills and nothing else matters except for mobile phone use, and driving under the influence.
    One friday night i played a little game i invented, whilst riding the 2 hour ride back to home.
    Count the offences on the Hume highway, it read something like this.
    5 dangerous driving (failing to dip headlights for oncoming traffic)
    2 dangerous driving (failing to leave enough room after overtaking and merging back into the left hand lane, footnote to that less than 3m in both cases)
    2 trailers being towed without any lighting.
    4 vehicles towing trailers speeding. ( based on the fact that i was sitting on the legal speed limit GPS confirmed 110kph and they overtook me) is it a fact that 100kph limit for trailer towing.
    2 of those vehicles should not have been towing the trailers ( over weight) (a barby doll 4wd can not legally tow a 2 horse horsefloat with 2 horses on board)
    And countless drivers suffering from radio active crutch syndrome.

    3 speed cameras (private company)
    1 highway patrol car.(in the same old same old place with his hair dryer hanging out the window)

    And the police and government wonder why i have no faith in thier ablity to help keep myself and my family safe, when we travel on the roads.

  2. I absolutely agree. Fog lights are a real problem yet police seem to simply ignore.

  3. I start work work at 5:30am most days which means leaving home about 5am, living in a rural area means I may only see 5 or 6 other vehicles on my 32km journey.
    3 things really get under my skin at this time of the morning, apart from having to get up so early.
    1- Those twits that think they have a god given right to put these so called “foglights” on because it makes them look cool, no, it just makes you look like an idiot, if you cant see enough with your normal lights on a CLEAR morning, stay off the road. The foglights that are on modern cars are not really foglights, foglights are low powered non reflecting yellow lights designed to penetrate fog, go figure.
    Those that are fitted to most cars are white lights and most idiots have worked out that you can get even more light if you change the 55 watt bulb for a 100 watt one, thats not going to bother anyone, will it ???
    2 – Can people not tell that they have only 1 working headlight? Times may be tough but bulbs won’t send you bankrupt. Whats even worst than that is when they think that the twilight over the horizon is more than adequate to see by, why wear out your battery by turning your lights on at all???
    3 – Those bloody LED light bars and HID spotlights, to those who have fitted them I ask WHY? Why must you put lights on a vehicle that enable you to see 900m + down the road and yet only dim your lights when you get to around 50m from an on-coming vehicle???????
    But the most important thing I would like to know is – WHERE ARE THE COPS? Home in bed I expect…..
    Also , “daytime driving lights”, I remember reading somewhere that they are surposed to turn off automaticly when you turn on your headlights, most are LEDs and are left on all the time………including night time……. again I ask – WHERE ARE THE COPS??
    Ok, time for my meds……..
    Stay safe.

    1. I totally agree with you.

      Don’t forget the fools who leave on their rear fog lights. The brilliant red light is far brighter than the brake lights and exceptionally distracting.

      Once again, nothing is done by law enforcement.

    2. DRL (daytime driving lights) CANNOT be turned off on many European cars as long as the engine is running. It is not possible unless you rewire the car. It is due to EU laws requiring cars to have them running. In cars such as my Audi A4 you CANNOT control the daytime running light manually. There is no control to do that. The police should be catching tailgaters and speeders, not bloody people with lights on; that’s just ridiculous and a waste of time. If you have dazzled by fog lights or LEDs, get your eyes checked. I have extremely sensitive eyes to the point I need sunglasses 90% of the time while driving, yet these lights don’t bother me at all.

    3. Seriously man, it’s not the fog lights or LEDs that bother you or that they are actually dangerous. People like you annoyed just because you are the angry type who hates people who do things differently from you. I’ll tell you what – get over yourself, and get some perspective in life. Otherwise you’ll die of an early heart attack from all your anger at the world not conforming to you and your circle of assholes.

  4. I recommend EVERYBODY show oncoming drivers with fog lights on just how dangerous and annoying they are by putting your headlights on high beam 🙂

  5. I find the cyclists need to be also educated or regulated.
    some of them run so powerfull lights they blind you even during daylight
    first of all they put the light that are too bright and they dont have a focus and just spread the light everywhere
    second when it flashes at night it gets even worse you get flashed then all goes dark then flash again your eyes constantly trying to adjust
    thirdly they dont align them properly and point everywhere
    some run them on their helmets and point that light in your face
    if its on a wide highway its not that big a problem but on narrow roads, twisty roads, roads with no street lights
    and on shared pedestrian paths its a huge problem

  6. I have not been dazzled by fog lights.. yet. And while I can understand that some people have been dazzled… when I did my apprenticeship as an auto electrician (over 40 years ago) we had an entire subject on automotive lighting. Sub divided into “Light to be seen by” and “Lights to see with.”

    Now some lights fall into both categories , e.g. reversing lights. Tells people you are about to go backwards and (at night) hopefully shows you where you are going.

    Now to fog lights…. we were taught and shown training films on fog lights. They were designed to be:

    1. Mounted low on the car so as to..

    2. Not reflect light back into the windscreen.

    3 Allow you to proceed in fog even if at a much reduced speed via a wide spread of light to the road’s edge.

    4. Here’s the zinger.. NOT blind oncoming drivers.

    (And the colour of some fog light lenses made no difference to their efficacy)

    The fog lights on my VE Holden Calais are next to bloody useless. Under normal situations from the drivers seat it is hard to tell if they are on. (Thankfully there is a pilot light on the dash)

    But the LED day run lights are very bright and I have found some cars (especially one model Benz) has day run LEDs that ARE dazzling in daylight.

    The day run lights in my friends new Mustang are mounted low and look like fog lights. And they are bright.

    Because lots of people DO complain about being dazzled.. I wonder if some owners upgrade the bulbs in their fog lights?

    Foglights are designed not to dazzle.. it’s part of how they “see” or penetrate the fog. I also wonder if the fact that they are so small in diameter concentrates the light source? (Speaking as a photographer here.) Back when I was at tech college fog lights were around 100 – 125mm in diameter.

    All food for thought.

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