The Eyes Have It

As I suffer from hay fever my eyes tend to be sensitive to bright lights so my following observations are very personal, but I feel very relevant.

When does a fog light become a hindrance rather than an aid to other drivers?

Should there be fog, and these days it tends to be in small patches rather than the blankets we used to get, rear fog lights have done their job as soon as you can see headlights in your rear view mirror and when in high density traffic should not be on – they are unnecessary and can mask vehicles braking ahead of you, as well as being very tiring to the eyes of drivers following.

I must admit in the last five years I cannot remember ever needing to use them. Front fog lights are helpful on country roads when they haven’t got a clear verge line but only in fog, they should not be used as an addition or instead of headlights at any time.

If I need windscreen wipers on should I use sidelights or dipped headlights?

If you need your windscreen wipers you need dipped headlights. Sidelights are about as effective in murky conditions as candles – they may make you feel better but are no help to other road users. When in doubt, better on than off.

I learned a hard lesson early one morning, on the Puddletown Bypass, when a lorry travelling in the opposite direction failed to ‘dip’ and a Stag appeared from nowhere, on my side of the road, sustaining around £3000 worth of damage on my car – it was just three weeks old! Now I tend to wait for the other car to dip before I dip myself, usually whilst not in direct site of each other.

The Author, Robbie Dunster, is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM). Opinions expressed are his and not necessarily those of the IAM.

Robbie is the Managing Director of Unicorn Courtesy Cars 01305 761166