Regular readers/visitors/watchers know I hate fog lights.
First, they don't work, at least none that are fitted as original equipment on far too many cars. I probably drive more different cars than anybody else in this country, I live in an area where there is frequent fog, and I have never - NEVER - driven behind a set of fog lights that did any good whatsoever.
An instructor at a BMW Driver Training School at Mid-Ohio Race Track used to start each lesson with: "Ladies and gentlemen - the first thing we will do is turn on our headlights. The second thing we will do is turn OFF our fog lights. Thank you."
BMW owners - oh, and Mustang owners - seem to be among the worst offenders.
Another colleague once suggested that fog lights' only purpose was target practice for an over/under shotgun. The shot pattern from about five metres takes care of them perfectly and permanently.
The second downside of fog lights (other than their complete lack of functionality) is that they always seem to be aimed either directly into my eyes, or directly into my rear-view mirror.
This is especially and increasingly an issue with the proliferation of pick-ups, SUVs and even some Crossovers with their jacked-up suspensions.
Now, a study has been conducted by Swiftcover, an insurance company in England, which shows that improper use of fog lights (that is to say, ANY use of fog lights...) may be responsible for up to 300,000 crashes per year.
All for the obvious reasons - they dazzle the eyes of on-coming (or preceding) traffic.
The company says young people especially leave the fogs on during good visibility conditions because "...it looks good."
Yeah, so did smoking. I've never understood why being stupid in public has always been cool.
At least in the UK, driving with fogs in other than poor-visibility conditions is an offence under their Highway Code. I can only wish for that here too, but like left-lane banditry, the cops probably wouldn't charge anybody anyway.
See the full report here, and thanks to several readers who pointed this out to me.