Teresa Mannion star of new ad to tell people when to use - and not to use - foglights
Our Road Safety Authority expert warns against dazzling other drivers and risking an accident
We receive so many emails from people about the misuse of foglights that I simply had to return to the topic here.
To tackle it, we have even had to bring out the big guns. Teresa Mannion herself.
Yes, we've recorded a new radio ad and produced a short video exclusively dedicated to telling people how to use lights properly and how to turn them off.
The problem is that most people think foglights are spot lights for cosmetic reasons only.
Of course, they are not. They are there to allow fellow motorists to see you while driving in fog, snow or poor visibility.
Front and rear foglights, when misused, can blind drivers in clear conditions.
They can also cause a dazzling reflection when driving on wet roads by creating a pool of light on the ground immediately in front of a vehicle, which a driver can have difficulty seeing past.
Foglights are designed for use only in dense fog, falling snow or heavy rain conditions and never in ordinary visibility when they tend to blind the driver of the car in front or approaching from behind.
Misusing rear foglights can make it difficult to see your brake lights.
To find out just how big a problem this is, we commissioned Amarach Research to carry out a study last October.
It was conducted at the roadside at 95 sites (36 urban and 59 rural), observing more than 39,000 vehicles.
We also recorded the weather and road conditions at the time.
The findings show that approximately one in ten (11pc) vehicles observed used foglights incorrectly.
While this is a slight drop on the previous year (14pc in 2015) it's still problematic.
The lowest levels of misuse were recorded amongst car drivers (10pc), with semi-articulated goods vehicles displaying the highest levels (16pc).
Drivers on rural roads recorded a higher incidence of incorrect use at 11pc compared with 9pc on urban roads.
The likelihood of drivers using their front foglights only (7pc) is higher than rear foglight usage (1pc).
The golden rule is, only use front or rear foglights when visibility is seriously reduced and switch them off when visibility improves.
The same study also noted the number of vehicles with broken lights. Again based on almost 40,000 observations, one in every 16 vehicles was observed to have one front defective light; 2pc had one defective back light and 1pc had a front and back defective light.
Now I don't know about you, but the thought of encountering a one-eyed Jack, as we call them, with only one working headlight terrifies me.
These cars can be easily mistaken for a motorcyclist, which could lead to a serious collision.
It is extremely important to have correctly working lights on your car.
Check they are in proper working order before you start your next journey.
Think about it - how can you be safe if you can't be seen? Just take a couple of minutes to turn on your lights and check them before you start your trip. This simple check could get you home safely tonight.
Oh and don't forget to give them a clean too. They won't be much use if they are coated in a film of dirt.
It's in everybody's interest to take all possible precautions to ensure our safety on the road.
A good start would be to check your lights and repair any broken ones without delay.
Most importantly, please know what foglights are for and when to use them, or rather when not to use them.