Why Do European Cars Have REAR Fog Lights? ( Explained)

It is a mandatory rule that cars in Europe are equipped with rear fog lights and they have stipulated guidelines on when and how to use them.

On the contrary, in the United States, they really do not care about the use of fog lights.

Please read through this article to find out the purpose of these fog lights and why Europeans care so much about them.

What Are Rear Fog Lights?

 A rear fog light is a bright red light that shines at the rear of your vehicle. They illuminate like your brake lights. These lights only make your vehicle more visible, especially in a thick fog.

They can also be placed on the left side of the vehicle to help mark your car, especially when other road users are overtaking you as you drive. Does it look interesting? Check here to see if all cars come with fog lights.

What Is the Purpose of These Rear Fog Lights?

You can find these fog lights at the front, back, or side of the vehicle. At the front, it makes the vehicle more visible to oncoming drivers on the other lane while the rear fog light makes your vehicle visible to the drivers behind.

There are various types of fog lights that car owners can select from. Some of them are xenon or halogen headlight bulbs.

However, for the rear position, it is best to use LED lights because they are brighter, long-lasting, and more common.

Why Are Rear Fog Lights Mandatory in Europe? 

Rear fog lights are mandatory in Europe because the law demands them. So, all car owners have to put the extra red lights at the back of their vehicles and turn it on when necessary.

Some of the common rules in Europe include the following:

  • It is important to turn out the light as required.

  • You are expected to keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front. This is because the rear fog lights can sometimes be mistaken as the normal brake lights and can give a false sense of security.

  • It is important to drive moderately, which means not too fast or too slow. Move as quickly as you can, especially if you can see clearly. This is very crucial on highways or dual carriages because cars move quickly on them.

  • Check your mirrors to observe what is going on around you before you slow down and then use the brake lights to warn the drivers behind that you are stopping.

  • Remember to use your windscreen wipers and demisters in fog.

  • Be careful of other road users who do not use their rear fog lights or headlights.

  • You should not accelerate or speed up to get away from a vehicle whose proximity is close.

  • At a junction, stop in the correct position and watch out for traffic. When it is safe to move, check around and do not position your vehicle in the way of oncoming vehicles, just to be on the safer side.

  • If you’re driving and you see a signboard that writes “Fog” on it. Be prepared for a bank of fog regardless of if the road is clear at that point.
  • Also, if it seems that the fog is clearing, still be on the watch as you can find yourself suddenly in a thick fog.

When Should a Fog Light Be Used?

The rear fog light is undoubtedly a crucial safety feature that makes the vehicle visible in fog or poor weather conditions.

These lights directly affect the safety of your car because it may happen that another road user is oblivious to your presence on the road.

However, as good as this light may be, there are specific situations to using them. It is best to turn the lights on when the visibility in fog is reduced to under 50 meters.

This 50 meters distance is estimated by using the delineators at the side of the road, as they are exactly 50 meters apart. As such, under no circumstances should owners use the rear fog lights without appropriate cause.

Fog lights are not to be used as normal driving lights because drivers behind you may think that you are braking normally. Besides, the sights of the lights might be uncomfortable for the driver behind.

Thus, these lights should only be used when driving in fog, snow, or other harsh weather conditions or you will be penalized.

How Do You Know if Your Vehicle Has Rear Fog Lights?

There are ways to find out if your car comes with these rear fog lights. The first step is to put the vehicle in Park and then turn on the engine.

In this mode, you’ll be able to activate the headlights. Come down from the vehicle and walk around to check how the headlights look, especially the lights at the rear. Check for the pattern of the taillights and check the brightness as well. 

For further investigation, you may need an extra hand to help you press down the brake pedal so that you can activate the brake lights and simultaneously activate the fog lights button. 

To know if you have these fog lights, you’ll notice that the lights are brighter even though they are similar to that of your brake lights. 

If need be, you can independently activate your headlights, driving lights, and the front fog lights if your car is designed that way, but save the fog lights for its purpose.

How Fast Should You Drive With the Rear Fog Lights?

Because of the limited visibility in fog, snow, or rain, switching on the fog lights is not sufficient. Drivers must maintain a safe speed in this environment.

The general rule is that drivers must not exceed 50km/hr in fog and this also applies in freeways or highways. In addition, there must be a safe distance between the vehicle ahead and yours.

Are Fog Lights Standard on All New Cars?

Fog lights are not a standard requirement in cars produced today. However, some of them are equipped with it anyways. Cars sold in the tropics may not require these lights because they hardly have such weather.

Also, these recent cars have adopted high-tech headlights which make the use of fog lights unnecessary. Modern headlights are very adaptive and can be useful in different weather conditions.

That said, make sure you check 8 popular cars with strong headlights here.

Why Are Rear Fog Lights Not Mandatory in America?

The simple fact why rear fog lights are not mandatory in America is because their federal law does not permit it. So manufacturers are allowed to remove this equipment from their vehicles.

Also, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration considered fog lights as supplementary equipment that may be used or not.

Lastly, there hasn’t been any strong desire by the citizens to have these lights. Manufacturers implement innovations based on the demand from their suppliers and, so far, there hasn’t been any demand from their buyers.


How Do Rear Fog Lights Work? | Cars.com

Rear Fog Lights – Truth and Fiction | Atlantic Motorcar

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