Rear Fog Lights

December 1, 2009 at 1:35 am 4 comments

Most North American cars have one set of bright lights on the back, of course those are the brake lights.  But some American cars and most European cars have other bright lights on the rear: rear fog lights.Rear fog light on an Audi

If you’re not familiar with this concept, then you probably assumed their lights were malfunctioning or their break lights were “stuck.”

Rear fog lights make it much easier for the vehicle behind you to see your car when fog, rain or snow is heavy.

Some rear fog lights are a pair of lights mounted low on the rear bumper.  Other cars have a single light, mounted near the driver’s side rear turn signal.

There are debates about the validity of rear fog lights.  Some claim they can be confused with brake lights, others agree but believe that is still safer than not seeing the vehicle until it is too late.

In the photo of the instrument cluster, the icon on the left is the front fog light indicator and on the right is the rear fog light indicator.

Some cars have separate switches for front and rear fogs, other cars have one switch that activates both.

Studies have shown that in North America more people inappropriately use their fog lamps in dry weather than use them properly in poor weather

Photo Credit: mroach (Creative Commons)

Sources: Wikipedia SAE

Entry filed under: Automotive, Demystified. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • […] brightness is the main advantage of these lights. Like rear fog lights, these headlights were popularized in Europe where fog, rain and curvy roads create demanding […]

  • 2. Nicholas  |  October 13, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Fog lights saved my life. I was driving through the fog on a cold winter day in Spain and all of a sudden I glimpsed a single tiny red light in the fog and slammed on my brakes, just behind a stopped vehicle that had been completely invisible aside from that light. No fog lights would have equalled two vehicles totalled, and maybe lives lost.

    Never could understand why North American vehicles don’t have these, esp. with our snowstorms and multi-vehicle pile-ups

  • 3. Caitlin  |  December 31, 2019 at 11:35 am

    1st time visitor, really liked it! Great job. Explanations are in common English, thank you very much! Was the sarcastic secret signal lights.. was it too subtle? Lol.
    Might I suggest an answer be written to this question:
    Deer have excellent “blue wave” vision. Will using “bluish” headlamps help them see cars? We all well know the traditional white headlights cause that frozen deer effect as their eyes are overwhelmed.
    Would mounting coloured light sources help increase their ability to see cars? Ex: some folks have green or blue flood lights on the underside of the vehicle, illuminating the ground beneath.

  • 4. Elton Sipes  |  January 5, 2022 at 1:14 am

    In the US regular vehicles are not allowed to have any light colors other than white, amber, and red, anywhere on the vehicle while it is being operated on public roads. White is only allowed on the front. Red is only allowed on the rear for brake, parking and turn signals. Amber is the color for front and rear turn signals. rear turn signals can be red or amber. Rear 3rd brake light must also be red. All other colors are reserved for emergency vehicles and law enforcement.


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