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  • Writer's pictureAlex Maltese

Is It Illegal to Drive with Fog Lights on in New York? | Lighting Regulations

Most New Yorkers are unaware of their rights and have limited knowledge of the local laws pertaining to auxiliary driving lamps.

Understanding the state rules before hitting the road is important to avoid trouble with law enforcement officers. Fog lights are not illegal in New York, but drivers must be mindful of their placement, as it could lead to accidents and injuries.

The Law Office of Carl Maltese has the skills and resources to investigate personal injury claims and pursue them on behalf of injured victims. It has recovered millions of dollars in compensatory damages for its clients and can guide the affected party on their rights.

Injured victims in Long Island, New York, should contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Law Office of Carl Maltese to discuss their case and learn more about their legal options. They can also help with questions such as Is it illegal to cut someone off while driving in New York?

Is It Illegal to Drive with Fog Lights on in New York?

Is It Illegal to Drive with Fog Lights on in New York?

Driving on public roads and highways can be challenging during certain times of the year due to the dense fog.

To help drivers with visibility, the bright light from fog lamps can cut through the fog and provide a clear view of the road ahead.

It's important to understand that most people interchange "fog lights" with "high beams." However, these are two separate lighting solutions with different regulations.

While driving with fog lights on is perfectly legal, the placement plays an important role in their legality. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, drivers must fix the front fog lights below the vehicle's headlamps to avoid dangerous glare.

Unlike high beams that shine on the driver in the oncoming vehicle, fog lights are supposed to illuminate the road during heavy fog. Placing them at a height can cause blindness in other road users, increasing the risk of motor vehicle accidents.

Fog lights are perfectly fine as long as they don't cause distraction or irritation. When that happens, it could lead to liability in case of an accident and even a ticket from a law enforcement officer.

Another crucial thing to remember is that the front fog lights should be in the correct place and of a type approved by the Commissioner of DMV. It can either be amber or white in color.

On the other hand, back fog lights should be red, and it's normal to be much larger than the standard backlighting solution. Back fog lights are great in warning other road users of the driver's presence.

After the fog settles and the visibility improves, drivers must refrain from using the fog lights, as the glare could irritate other road users. In some cases, it may cause temporary blindness.

Understanding New York Regulations Pertaining to Driving Lights

The laws pertaining to using and placing motor vehicle lights and auxiliary driving lamps vary from one state to the other.

Here are a couple of New York regulations that drivers must know before hitting the road:

Colored Lights

Under the driving lighting laws in New York, motor vehicles cannot have colored lighting except for the following:

  • Amber: Hazard vehicles, including plow and tow trucks, can use amber-colored lights when there is a hazard. In such situations, fog lamps and overhead light bars are not permitted.

  • Blue: When responding to emergencies, authorized firefighting vehicles can use blue lights.

  • Green: Authorized volunteer ambulance personnel can use green lights when responding to emergency situations.

Auxiliary Lighting and Light Bars

An auxiliary driving lamp refers to lighting solutions other than the standard fixtures, such as headlights, taillights, directional signals, and brake lights.

It's not uncommon to see a light bar on top of a motor truck in New York. While it seems like a convenient lighting device, it's only permissible in The Big Apple when it involves a hazard vehicle that is engaged in a hazardous operation.

Steady and flashing auxiliary lights and light bars are not permitted on public highways in New York. Such lamps are only reserved for emergency vehicles.

Under-glow Lighting

Under state laws, drivers can drive motor vehicles with white under-glow lighting devices. Those that come in multiple colors are not permitted on public highways.

Driving in Different Conditions

A driver bases almost 90% of their decisions on what they see, which can vary depending on the conditions while driving on the road. 

Here are some considerations drivers should be wary of when traveling within New York state:

Night Time Driving in New York

At night, it can be difficult for drivers to see, which is why it's important to exercise extra caution.

It's best to drive slowly, especially in unknown areas, as the headlamps can only illuminate the road up to 350 feet ahead.

Visibility on the road can vary depending on the time of day. The law requires New Yorkers to have their headlights on one-half hour before sunrise and one-half hour after sunset. 

Even if the headlamps do not improve visibility for the motorist, it can help the other drivers see the vehicle approaching, allowing them to take the necessary steps to avoid a collision.

The motorist must also consider using low-beam over high-beam lights in certain situations to avoid dangerous glare. 

Drivers must have low-beam lights when they're within 500 feet of an oncoming car or 200 feet of the vehicle ahead of them. Motorists must also dim their lights when nearing an approaching pedestrian.

Motorists can move their eyes to the right to avoid dangerous glare from high-beam lights. They can use the side of the road as a guide while driving until the reckless driver passes by.

Driving in Rain, Snow, and Fog

Rain, snow, and ice can make the road slippery for motor vehicles, trucks, and motorcycles, increasing the risk of collisions.

It's crucial for drivers to reduce speed, increase the following distance, and exercise extra caution during curves and turns.

Due to reduced visibility, it can be challenging to see other motor vehicles during rain, snow, and fog. Drivers must turn their headlights on when bad weather conditions require the use of windshield wipers.

It's important to note that the headlights are not the same as "daytime running lights."

Driving During Winter

Since there are only a few hours of daylight, winters can be exceptionally challenging for drivers. During this season, it's essential to take extra precautions, some of which include the following:

  • Install snow tires.

  • Fill up the windshield washer reservoir with an anti-freeze cleaning agent.

  • Clear the ice or snow from the headlamps and other lights.

  • Drive slowly.

While a front-wheel drive is easier to control than a rear-wheel drive on snow and icy surfaces, drivers shouldn't let their guards down and stay alert at all times.

Can Injured Victims Pursue Damages in an Accident Caused by Fog Lights?

Whether it's fog lights or bad weather conditions, drivers must exert extreme caution and follow state laws.

A driver must also act as a reasonable person to avoid accidents from happening. Their negligence on the road can lead to liability for which injured victims may be able to recover compensation.

It's important for all injured victims to reach out to a great car accident lawyer in Long Island to help them navigate the complexities of pursuing claims and avoid the obstacles that insurance companies are notorious for creating.

The Law Office of Carl Maltese Can Help Injured Victims Recover Financially from Fog Light Accidents!

The Law Office of Carl Maltese Can Help Injured Victims Recover Financially from Fog Light Accidents!

Those who have suffered injuries due to another's negligence in Long Island, New York, should call to schedule a free consultation with the skilled and reputable personal injury attorneys at The Law Office of Carl Maltese, as they may be eligible for compensatory damages.


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