Fog lights, unlike the traditional headlights on a car, are designed to cast light only on the road. For this reason, they sit lower on a vehicle and are often angled down. The positioning of the lights ensures that they illuminate the road ahead in weather conditions that present dense fog. Attempting to use traditional headlights makes the road conditions appear worse because the light beams disperse off of moisture and water particles.
Fog lights are meant to be used only when weather conditions call for their use; otherwise, drivers should use their other headlights to navigate. They can be turned on and off independently of traditional headlights. Most vehicles are equipped with fog lights, but if they aren’t they can easily be installed.
How Do they Work?
If you’ve ever jumped in your car for your morning commute to only find that fog has completely obstructed your view of the road, you’ve probably been grateful that you had fog lights. Though they are called “fog lights,” they can be used in a variety of low-visibility weather conditions such as sandstorms, snow, and mist. Fog lights work well because of their positioning. Despite how it seems, fog actually doesn’t reach the ground. Rather, it hovers about twelve to eighteen inches above the ground. Because of their low positioning, fog lights are able to cut beneath the fog and clearly illuminate the road.
There has been some debate about the color of light used in fog lights and whether or not it makes a difference in illuminating the road. Yellow light has a longer wavelength than blue light and for this reason, many manufacturers have assumed that yellow light is best to cut through the thick fog. However, in reality, blue light can also be effective when used in fog lights. The effectiveness really has more to do with positioning than light color.
Different Types of Fog Lights
While many vehicles are equipped with fog lights, some cars need to have them installed. There are a wide variety of updates and adjustments that can be made to existing fog lights as well. The following is a sample of the variety:
- Custom lights
- Factory lights
- LED lights
- Off-Road Lights
Depending on the make and model of your car, the intended use of your car, and your budget, you can easily find a fog light suitable for your vehicle.
Not as common in the United States, in Europe and Australia, rear fog lights are a common feature of vehicles. Rear fog lights are for the benefit of other drivers so that they can clearly see the back of the vehicles in front of them. These rear fog lights are meant to help protect everyone on the road from rear-end collisions.