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#4524163 - 09/23/17 04:36 PM FOG vs Driving lights
Eddie Offline


Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 9382
Loc: Florida, Cape Coral
In town, many people drive with the fog lights on day and night. I assume they misunderstand that fog lights are NOT to be used as driving light. At night, driving on a clear drizzling rain night with fog light on, contributes to road glare. Pain in the rear end. Ed
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#4524193 - 09/23/17 05:09 PM Re: FOG vs Driving lights [Re: Eddie]
Inspecktor Offline


Registered: 03/16/14
Posts: 621
Loc: Twin Cities MN USA
Originally Posted By: Eddie
In town, many people drive with the fog lights on day and night. I assume they misunderstand that fog lights are NOT to be used as driving light. At night, driving on a clear drizzling rain night with fog light on, contributes to road glare. Pain in the rear end. Ed
Or, drive with fog lights and parking lights on at nite, leaving headlights off.
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#4524233 - 09/23/17 06:06 PM Re: FOG vs Driving lights [Re: Eddie]
555 Offline


Registered: 06/08/09
Posts: 354
Loc: New England
Rear fog lights, in the fog helpful. Driving lights, front fog lights, meh,marketing.
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#4524238 - 09/23/17 06:10 PM Re: FOG vs Driving lights [Re: Eddie]
TheKracken Offline


Registered: 04/18/17
Posts: 515
Loc: Fort Worth TX
Was not aware fog light cause issues....I drive with my fog light on all the time.
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#4524246 - 09/23/17 06:18 PM Re: FOG vs Driving lights [Re: Eddie]
L_Sludger Offline


Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 3947
Loc: Ohio
Fog lights dont bug me but the really bright single taillamp on European marques when the fogs are lit, do tend to bug me. As far as oncoming and rearview vision though, everyone is a censored-orifice with the tailgating tendencies, high beams they leave on, illegal retrofit kits, lifted trucks, and headlamp aiming issues. Its no wonder why I see so many people now driving around in cars with totally blacked out tint everywhere INCLUDING windshield tint. Even the keystone kops in N. Ky are doing blackout tint on their windshields as well.
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#4524307 - 09/23/17 08:13 PM Re: FOG vs Driving lights [Re: Eddie]
MrHorspwer Offline


Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 1409
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Eddie
In town, many people drive with the fog lights on day and night. I assume they misunderstand that fog lights are NOT to be used as driving light. At night, driving on a clear drizzling rain night with fog light on, contributes to road glare. Pain in the rear end. Ed


Let me fix your definitions for you, starting with low beam and high beam lamps.

Low beam: Standard lamp for most driving situations. Beam shaping generally have a sharp cutoff on the left side of the vehicle (for LHD) to avoid glare for oncoming traffic that tapers up towards the right side to allow more lighting on the side of the road for pedestrians, etc.

Low beam isolux (Hella 90mm LED low beam module):


Note the beam reaches a maximum of just under 200m (656 ft) on the right side, but is much more constrained to reduce glare on the left. Also note the "hot spot" in red. This indicates a lot of foreground lighting on the pavement right in front of the vehicle.

High beam: Specialized lamp for long distance illumination. Should be used where there is limited traffic as measures to limit glare are minimal. Also beneficial for higher speeds.

High beam isolux (Hella 90mm LED high beam module):


Note the beam reaches a maximum of just over 300m (984 ft) and all the beam shaping to reduce glare seen in the low beam isolux is gone. Also note there is no hot spot at all. There is minimal foreground lighting and no horizontal cutoff.

Fog lamp: Short range speciality lamp. Short, wide beam with a sharp horizontal cutoff used for foreground lighting.

Fog lamp isolux (Hella Rally 500 fog lamp):


Note maximum distance is 35m (115 ft) and the beam is wide, about 15 to 20 m wider than the low beam isolux. The hot spot is back too, indicating foreground lighting. Should be used with low beam headlamp during inclement weather like rain, fog, sleet, or snow. Can be used by themselves in incredibly severe weather when there is extreme low beam headlamp back-scatter (like a blizzard) if speeds are low enough, 30 MPH or less. Any faster and you're outdriving the lamp. The short range and sharp beam cutoff makes them generally inoffensive to oncoming drivers.

99% of all vehicles sold today with OE auxiliary lighting use a fog lamp. Of those, 90% are completely junk and little more than an additional marker lamp (some actually use a marker lamp bulb!). Per FMVSS, fog lamps on new vehicles automatically turn off when high beams are selected. The Hella 500 shown above is a fantastic fog lamp. OE fog lamps perform far, FAR worse.

Driving lamp: Long range speciality lamp. Long distance beam used for long distance lighting.

Driving lamp pattern (Hella FF1000):


Now we're talking! Maximum distance is out to 475m (1,558 ft) and there is light everywhere. This would be a great supplement to high beams or even as an outright replacement for them. Incredibly offensive to oncoming drivers and generates tons of glare and back-scatter in inclement weather. As a note, the FF1000 is a 7.7" lamp... it's big. Most driving lamps will not have this type of performance, but it illustrates what a driving lamps is perfectly.

Moral of the story... fogs lamps are generally inoffensive and on most OE vehicles, driving lamps are offensive and are typically added aftermarket.

A large percentage of people who purchase aftermarket auxiliary lighting end up with a driving lamp. If you drive around well traveled areas with a driving lamp on all the time, you're a butthead and may as well just turn your high beams on too. If you drive around with a fog lamp on all the time, especially an OE fog lamp, you're not hurting anyone.

Unfortunately, most people don't know or just don't care,. They'll buy whatever cheap auxiliary lighting they think looks cool from eBay or Amazon and drive around as if there's no difference. Even worse are cheap LED light bars. These aren't even driving lamps. They're just flood lamps with nearly no effort toward beam shaping.

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#4524368 - 09/23/17 09:50 PM Re: FOG vs Driving lights [Re: Eddie]
Bud Offline


Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 1620
Loc: Texas
Fog lights were standard on my Pilot. Have never used them.
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#4524409 - 09/23/17 10:35 PM Re: FOG vs Driving lights [Re: Eddie]
L_Sludger Offline


Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 3947
Loc: Ohio
Saw a couple Toyota SUVs with fogs on tonight on a perfectly clear day. One of them was jacked up and lifted with huge bright blue fog or whatever add on accessory lights they are called- the rub was that the lights were up on the level as the main headlamps, on the grille.. Absolute filthy doucher. Of course he she it had dark limo tinting all over: just a menace on the road.
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#4524529 - 09/24/17 05:45 AM Re: FOG vs Driving lights [Re: Eddie]
d00df00d Offline


Registered: 10/20/05
Posts: 11124
Loc: PA
I drive with my fog lights off because they take power and contribute nothing meaningful. My car burns far too much fuel as it is.

If I had weak headlights, I might feel differently. Then again, if my headlights were weak enough that fog lights would make a difference in normal driving, I'd consider it an urgent obligation to get better headlights...
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#4524530 - 09/24/17 05:54 AM Re: FOG vs Driving lights [Re: L_Sludger]
d00df00d Offline


Registered: 10/20/05
Posts: 11124
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: L_Sludger
Saw a couple Toyota SUVs with fogs on tonight on a perfectly clear day. One of them was jacked up and lifted with huge bright blue fog or whatever add on accessory lights they are called- the rub was that the lights were up on the level as the main headlamps, on the grille.. Absolute filthy doucher. Of course he she it had dark limo tinting all over: just a menace on the road.

Whenever I see a vehicle like that, the thought always crosses my mind to call the cops. AFAIK most of those vehicles are hugely ticketable -- bumper height, headlight height and aiming, suspension and tire mods with ABS, etc.

Never done it, but been sorely tempted a few times. These people are dangerous.
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#4524534 - 09/24/17 06:06 AM Re: FOG vs Driving lights [Re: Eddie]
Eddie Offline


Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 9382
Loc: Florida, Cape Coral
I do believe it is illegal in some countries to drive with Fog lights on when there is no fog. Ed
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#4524536 - 09/24/17 06:12 AM Re: FOG vs Driving lights [Re: L_Sludger]
AVB Offline


Registered: 05/20/12
Posts: 1137
Loc: Georgia
Originally Posted By: L_Sludger
Saw a couple Toyota SUVs with fogs on tonight on a perfectly clear day. One of them was jacked up and lifted with huge bright blue fog or whatever add on accessory lights they are called- the rub was that the lights were up on the level as the main headlamps, on the grille.. Absolute filthy doucher. Of course he she it had dark limo tinting all over: just a menace on the road.
Fog lights are never blue.

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#4524548 - 09/24/17 06:59 AM Re: FOG vs Driving lights [Re: Eddie]
SHOZ Offline


Registered: 06/28/03
Posts: 5603
Loc: Illinois
I put 55w HIDs in mine and rewired them so they come on with the hi beams. Never use them with oncoming traffic. Great for the rural roads and deer spotting.
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#4524570 - 09/24/17 07:42 AM Re: FOG vs Driving lights [Re: Eddie]
LotI Offline


Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 1227
Loc: America's Dairyland
I agree with the OP, having them on all the time is useless. I found them to be detrimental to night vision because they illuminate the area in front of the vehicle then I can't see far down the road. They are useful in the snow and after dark when there is fog to help see the lane markers...that's about it. Fog lights during daylight fog don't do anything. Most useful in the snow are yellow bulbs.

The MINI was my only car with halfway decent fogs from the factory and when I put in PIAA Ion Yellow bulbs it just popped. That car had a rear fog too which is great when it's snowing and the rear of the car gets covered with snow.

Aiming is important too, my last Accord had a lens replaced and they didn't even aim it. One lamp was aimed level and the other was aimed about 2 feet in front of the car. Re-aiming per the service manual made them semi-useful.
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#4524585 - 09/24/17 08:11 AM Re: FOG vs Driving lights [Re: MrHorspwer]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32377
Loc: ME
Originally Posted By: MrHorspwer


Driving lamp: Long range speciality lamp. Long distance beam used for long distance lighting.

Driving lamp pattern (Hella FF1000):


Now we're talking! Maximum distance is out to 475m (1,558 ft) and there is light everywhere. This would be a great supplement to high beams or even as an outright replacement for them. Incredibly offensive to oncoming drivers and generates tons of glare and back-scatter in inclement weather. As a note, the FF1000 is a 7.7" lamp... it's big. Most driving lamps will not have this type of performance, but it illustrates what a driving lamps is perfectly.


Well said! Also, optically, you need a large reflector to focus a true spot light. Many people think the little 3 inch reflector lights from Pep Boys make good fogs but aim them at a garage door and check out all the atrocious misfocused bright spots.

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