Since 1 January 2012, Malaysia has been slowly implementing UNECE regulations for new vehicles. UNECE regulations cover every aspect of a vehicle, including headlights, tail lights, restraint system and even seats.
Regulations pertaining rear fog lights aren't very clear, as a result, various car manufacturers appear to intepret the regulations differently. Most new vehicles from Proton, Toyota and Volkswagen are fitted with rear fog lights, though only selected models from Honda Malaysia's lineup actually have it.
One of the UNECE regulated item is the rear fog light. Most fully-imported vehicles from Europe come fitted with one, and as of recent times, locally-assembled models started to have these fitted.
Rear fog lights are extremely useful when weather conditions are poor. UK Highway Code mentions that headlights must be switched on when visibility is poor. Front or rear fog lights can be switched on when visibility is less than 100 meters, though drivers must turn them off when visibility improves. Closer to home, our Malaysian Highway Code has yet to be updated with newer automotive technologies.
Many Malaysian drivers still practice the incorrect habit of switching their hazard lights on under heavy rain. The reasoning, many justify, is that the hazard lights make their cars more visible to others. This is misguided, as hazard lights are meant to indicate a vehicle that is stationary in an emergency. How are you going to signal for a turn or a lane change? Or are you one of those who just don't use them? Rear fog lights in this instance represent the correct approach to make your car more visible to others. The next time you think about switching your hazard lights in the midst of a downpour, reach for the rear fog light switch instead.
Remember to turn them off when the rain eases though. The intensity of the rear fog lights can be very irritating to drivers behind in clear weather.
We reckon that our police force or JPJ should start issuing fines to drivers who abuse their rear fog lights.