Driving with fog lights on might be illegal—here’s what you MUST know before hitting the road!

Navigating the roads safely is a top priority for all drivers, and that includes knowing when and how to use your vehicle's fog lights.

While these lights are designed to improve visibility during poor weather conditions, using them incorrectly can not only be dangerous but also illegal.

Fog lights are specifically designed to cut through the opacity of fog, heavy rain, dust, or smoke.

However, when the weather is clear, these intense lights can be a source of glare for other drivers, potentially causing temporary blindness. This is why stringent rules regulate their use across Australia.

Several states implement different rules on using fog lights. Credit: Shutterstock

The Australian Road Rules (ARR), which serve as a model for state and territory laws, clearly state that fog lights should only be used during hazardous weather conditions that reduce visibility.

It's important to note that the ARR has no legal effect; each state and territory must enact its regulations based on these guidelines.

New South Wales

In New South Wales, for example, the law is quite straightforward: ‘You must only use your fog lights in fog or rain, or when other conditions limit your vision, such as smoke or dust.’

‘Once conditions improve and you can see more clearly, you must switch the fog lights off. If your vehicle does not have fog lights, you can use your low beam headlights and hazard lights in fog or rain.’

Failure to comply can result in a $129 fine.


Victorians are similarly instructed to use fog lights only during hazardous weather conditions.

‘Fog lights should only be used in hazardous weather conditions. Drivers should familiarise themselves with the dashboard warning symbols so that they do not inadvertently switch these lights on,’ it said on its website.

Incorrect use of fog lights here can lead to a $192 fine.


Queensland's regulations are in line with the ARR: ‘You can only use front or rear fog lights if it is difficult to see other vehicles or objects due to poor weather conditions—such as heavy rain or fog. You must not use fog lights in clear weather conditions, whether it is day or night.’

A breach of this rule could cost you $61 and one demerit point for ‘using lights on a vehicle that dazzle other road users’.

South Australia

South Australia's interpretation also mirrors the ARR, with a hefty $382 fine, including a $99 Victims of Crime Levy, for improper use of fog lights.

‘The driver of a vehicle fitted with front fog lights or rear fog lights must not operate the fog lights unless the driver is driving in fog or other hazardous weather conditions causing reduced visibility,’ it said in its Driver’s Handbook.

Western Australia

Western Australia includes dust storms in its list of conditions where fog lights are permissible.

WA’s road rules also said to ‘not drive with both headlights and fog lights at the same time’, and that ‘driving a motor vehicle with both headlights and fog lights operating is an offence’ because they should not be used in conjunction with any light ‘greater than 7 watts and capable of showing a white light to the front’.

However, using both headlights and fog lights simultaneously is prohibited, with offenders risking a $100 fine and one demerit point.

Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, drivers must switch off fog lights as soon as conditions clear up.

The NT road users handbook states, ‘Front and rear fog lights must only be used in fog or rain or when conditions such as smoke and dust limit your vision. '

‘It is a legal requirement that once conditions improve and you can see more clearly, the front and rear fog lights are switched off.’

Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory, which experiences frequent fog, requires that fog lights not cause discomfort to the driver by reflecting off the vehicle's surfaces, and the driver ‘of a motor vehicle fitted with front or rear fog lights must not operate them unless the driver is driving in fog or other hazardous weather conditions causing reduced visibility’.

The fine for misuse here is $213.


Tasmania's rules are specific about alignment and color, stating that fog lights ‘must be aligned to the front of the vehicle so as not to cause undue dazzle or discomfort to oncoming drivers and other road users’, and they may ‘only emit white or yellow light’ and ‘be able to be switched on and off independent of the high and low beam headlamps’.

Tasmania’s road safety advisory council also said, ‘a driver is only permitted to use fog lights if driving in fog, mist or other atmospheric condition that restricts visibility’.

Using fog lights outside of conditions like fog or mist can result in a $146.25 fine.

Members, please take note that this does not constitute legal advice. Please consult the relevant road authorities in your state or territory for guidance.
Key Takeaways
  • Using fog lights when it isn't foggy can temporarily blind other road users and carry legal penalties.
  • Rules regarding fog light usage vary by state but generally dictate that they should only be used in hazardous weather conditions such as heavy rain, fog, smoke, or dust.
  • Penalties for incorrect use of fog lights can result in fines and, in some cases, demerit points on the driver's licence.
  • It's important for drivers to familiarise themselves with their vehicle's lights and local road regulations to avoid fines and ensure road safety.
Have you ever had an experience with fog light fines, or do you have any tips for driving in foggy conditions? Share your stories and advice in the comments below!
  • Like
Reactions: Liag
What more needs to be said? They are fog lights. Only to be used when applicable conditions apply. Otherwise, they can dazzle/distract other drivers causing unsafe conditions.
Why are the Australian Road Rules (ARR) only as a guideline for the states??
Surely important driving rules should be UNIVERSAL through all of Australia - we are politically over governed.

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