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Unreliable in fog

Published on 14.10.2019

Automatic headlamp activation

Many drivers have blind faith in their automatic headlight activation system. But it doesn’t always work in the fog. Explanations.

These days, more and more vehicles are fitted with an automatic headlight activation system as standard or otherwise, which comes in when light levels drop. It’s really helpful for everyday driving, giving the driver a certain ease of mind. Especially when entering a tunnel, in a forest or at dusk, when the driver doesn’t need to think about dipping and un-dipping the headlights.

But the system has its limits and you shouldn’t trust to it completely. As the automatic dipped beam activation system depends on sensors that measure the light levels, the system is unable to recognise certain situations: fog, rain and smoke – and even when the weather is relatively clear. This is when the driver needs to turn the lights on himself. In thick fog, he will also need to switch on the fog lights manually.

And to round things off, remember that the daytime running lights are for making the vehicle more visible during the day. As there are usually only running lights on the front of the car, drivers must remember to put on the dipped headlights too.

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