Fog lights (also known as auxiliary driving lamps) are mostly used to help drivers see during harsh weather conditions. This kind of auxiliary lighting can cut through excessive rain, mist, fog, and other conditions, lowering the risk of getting into an accident.
However, there are a few rules for installing an auxiliary driving lamp in every state, including Iowa. Such a bright light can cause other drivers to lose visibility, which can lead to an accident. These people may even file a legal claim if they believe the other driver didn't install their auxiliary lamps correctly.
Now, is it illegal to drive with fog lights on in Iowa? Below is everything drivers should consider about the subject.
What Are Fog Lights for?
In simple terms, these driving lights are meant to help drivers with reduced visibility, especially during special conditions.
Even though this lighting device is meant to help during harsh weather conditions, it may also help if the taillights and/or standard headlights aren't as effective.
Drivers can install an auxiliary or "spot lamp" to alert oncoming drivers of their presence too. This is possible because they come with bright bulbs, which create intense lighting.
A fog light (or any other lamp) shouldn't replace high beams. A high beam will direct light toward the front of the motor vehicle, whereas the fog light will often cast light on the ground. If installed correctly, these lights can reveal anything at a distance of 100 feet ahead at a minimum.
Why Are Fog Lights Dangerous?
Turning fog lights when they aren't needed (i.e., during regular day or night conditions) can dazzle approaching vehicles.
Not only are these lights distracting, but they can also cause other drivers to lose visibility and maneuverability, leading to accidents.
As a rule of thumb, drivers should only turn their fog lights on if their visibility drops below 100 feet. As soon as visibility improves, they should turn them off.
Of course, drivers can't keep switching fog lights on and off, as this can also distract drivers and confuse them. Tom Fowler Law can also help answer questions like is it illegal to cut someone off while driving in Iowa?
What Does Iowa Say About Such Lamps?
Iowa has explicit rules regarding car lights. Here's an overview:
Drivers can only install up to four lights on their cars.
Bright lights should always be directed away from the eyes of other drivers.
Any vehicle equipped with auxiliary lamps that project an intensity greater than 300 candlepower can't turn on all the lights at once while on a highway.
Drivers can't install blue lights unless the vehicle is authorized for emergencies.
Motor vehicles other than motorized bicycles and motorcycles must have at least two headlamps. They should have one on each side of the front of the vehicle.
Motorized bicycles and motorcycles, on the other hand, must have no more than two headlamps installed.
Lights used on the front of a vehicle can only be white, amber, or yellow unless the vehicle is a school bus.
Lights used on the rear of a vehicle can only be red unless they're the stop lights. In these cases, the light can be red, amber, or yellow.
Drivers are only allowed to have one "spot" lamp.
Drivers can't have more than three auxiliary driving lamps.
In other words, it's legal to drive with fog lights on, as long as they're used correctly.
Can Driving with Fog Lights Cause an Accident?
Yes, anyone driving a motor truck or car must use fog lights responsibly if they want to avoid an accident.
A common mistake drivers make is thinking they're safe if they're the ones flashing such intense lighting. What they fail to account for is that dazzling other drivers can cause them to crash into their car.
Minor accidents may not result in harsh consequences, but if the vehicles were going at fast speeds (which is likely if they're on a highway), they may experience personal injuries on top of property damage.
Drivers don't have to cause an accident to get in trouble. If they're caught using fog lights during inappropriate scenarios, they could get fined by the police.
Some cars with the latest technology use automatic lights. While this is more convenient, these lights may turn on incorrectly from time to time. It's the driver's responsibility to check their lights to ensure they're not using the wrong ones. Tom Fowler Law also has answers to questions such as is it illegal to drive backwards in Iowa?
What Should Victims Do If They Get into an Accident?
Following the law is only step one of staying safe on the road. Unfortunately, it's impossible to control what other drivers do, meaning that most people are still exposed to potential accidents even if they are driving correctly.
Getting into a car crash is frustrating, especially if the driver isn't at fault. Thankfully, they may be entitled to compensation if such an accident results in personal or property damage.
It's crucial to act fast in these scenarios, as the other driver may try to run away from the scene. Writing down the other car's license plate number will be enough to start filing a police report. The victim can then use that report to file an insurance claim and get justice for what happened.
Ideally, the at-fault party shouldn't drive away from the scene. In these cases, the victim should grab the other person's contact information, insurance contact, and anything else that could help. They should also take photos and videos of the scene and the damage caused.
Some drivers may try to settle instead of taking the case to court. Even if this seems like a great option to get money faster, it's important to talk to a car crash law firm first to evaluate the best course of action.
Using fog lights responsibly will greatly decrease the chances of getting into an accident. It can also help the driver avoid getting fined by the police.
Iowa gives drivers many options to fit their cars with auxiliary lamps. As long as they follow the law, they can legally use their fog lights during harsh situations and avoid crashes.
If the driver gets into an accident because of someone else's negligence, they should talk to a lawyer immediately. At Tom Fowler Law, there's a group of experts ready to evaluate any case and plan the best strategy to get the victim compensation.