Ask a Trooper: Unaligned or too bright fog lights are illegal
Published 5:23 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2023
By Sgt. Troy Christianson
Question: I see a lot of people that have their fog lights on and when I am meeting them on the road and some are very bright and make seeing the road very difficult. Some of them appear to be out of alignment and are blinding. What is the law that covers this?
Answer: If the fog lights are aimed too high and/or are too bright they are illegal, even if they are in compliance with the rest of the law. All vehicle lights allowed by statute must also be approved by the Commissioner of Public Safety.
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Minnesota law says that any motor vehicle may be equipped with not to exceed two fog lamps mounted on the front at a height not less than 12 inches nor more than 30 inches above the level surface upon which the vehicle stands and so aimed that when the vehicle is not loaded none of the high-intensity portion of the light to the left of the center of the vehicle shall at a distance of 25 feet ahead project higher than a level of four inches below the level of the center of the lamp from which it comes. Lighted fog lamps meeting the above requirements may be used with lower headlamp beams.
Minnesota law also states that when a motor vehicle equipped with headlamps, as (herein) required, is also equipped with any auxiliary lamps, spot lamps or any other lamps on the front thereof projecting a beam of intensity greater than 300-candle power, not more than a total of four of any such lamps on the front of a vehicle shall be lighted at any one time when upon a highway.
It’s the law to have head lights and tail lights on during rain/snow and when visibility is reduced, but best practice is to keep your lights on at all times to make yourself more visible to other drivers.
Anytime your vehicle’s height is altered by adding larger tires/rims or any type of suspension lift, your headlights and fog lights may need to be adjusted so they are not blinding to other motorists.
You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848. (Or reach him at, Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us)