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Use fog lights correctly and safely


Oct. 23, 2013

For more information Michele O’Leary, ODOT Vehicle Equipment Standards Program Manager (503) 986-4198 or Sally Ridenour, ODOT PIO (503) 986-3359

With fall’s foggy weather here, state transportation safety officials are reminding people to use vehicle lighting correctly and safely.
Fog lights are designed to be used at low speeds in fog, heavy mist, snow and other situations where visibility is significantly reduced. Front fog lights are generally aimed and mounted low to increase the illumination directed towards the road surface. However, after sunset and during other low visibility situations, fog lights are required to be turned off when an oncoming vehicle approaches. During normal visibility conditions, fog or auxiliary lights should be turned off. It is not appropriate to drive with fog or auxiliary lights left on all the time. (See pictures of fog lights on ODOT’s Flickr photostream.)
When a car is using fog or auxiliary lights, it is visually distracting for oncoming drivers. According to Oregon law, fog and/or auxiliary lights must be used like the high beam headlight system of your car. They must be turned off when within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle and within 350 feet when following another vehicle. The color of fog and/or auxiliary lights is also regulated. Fog lights may be either white or amber (yellow). Rules prohibit other colors such as blue.
If your car is equipped with auxiliary lighting, ODOT recommends knowing where the switches are and how to use them.
If you plan to install fog and/or auxiliary lights as an after market feature, it is important to know that Oregon has adopted federal rules that all manufacturers must meet. Products must be labeled; anything that is labeled “not for street use” cannot be used on public roadways. Fog and other auxiliary lights must have a separate switch. Fog lights may not be used in lieu of headlights.
For more information on vehicle equipment and standards, visit ODOT’s Transportation Safety website, or see the
Oregon Driver Manual on the DMV website.