Do you know what makes traffic worse in foggy weather? A driver whose lights don’t properly illuminate the road because he doesn’t have fog lights. The best way to see what’s ahead is for your headlights to illuminate the road in front of you, but that also comes with a severe drawback: blind spots.
When it rains, you can’t see as far ahead because there are windows between your eyes and the objects in front of you. It’s even worse when you drive at night because there are no headlights until you pass an object or turn on your own lights. This principle is called “eye range,” and it’s one reason why drivers with fog lights win out over those without them.
Many cars come with fog lights already installed from the factory.
If you’re driving on a pitch-black country road, you’ll be happy to know that many vehicles come equipped with fog lights right out of the box. But not all. A good portion of automobiles come with fog lights as standard equipment (meaning they’re built-in), but there are other models where fog lights can only be installed as a factory option (meaning you have to purchase them from the manufacturer and get them installed specifically for your vehicle). In either case, it’s always worth double-checking whether or not your car has fog lights before heading off into the night.
Driving with your high beams on during a fog can reduce your visibility.
In the case of fog, your high-beam headlights are ineffective because the light has nowhere to go. Fog is made up of water droplets, usually collected around dust and smoke particles in the atmosphere. When a light beam hits a water droplet, it gets reflected in every direction as if hitting a mirror.
This reflection is called forward scattering; you know it because it makes things look brighter and shinier (and also why road signs are so hard to read). Unfortunately for us, this same principle works against us when we’re driving through a heavy fog with our high beams on—the light bounces back at you without lighting anything else up.
The most common alternative to using high beams in these situations is relying on low beams—but the problem with low beams is that they don’t illuminate very far ahead of you and can make seeing difficult in inclement weather conditions or low-light settings like nighttime or dawn/dusk hours.
Fog lights have been developed to answer this issue since they emit less glare than high beams while still providing long-distance illumination to increase visibility during low-visibility situations further. It’s not your fault that people use their high beam lights on a foggy night, though: there wasn’t really any other option for drivers until recently.
However, driving with only fog lights will leave you blinded by streetlights and headlights from other cars, so long as those are still above your line of sight. The purpose of fog lights is to cut through conditions where regular beams have difficulty lighting up and clarifying your visual field—not to replace them entirely.
Are fog lights the standard for automotive manufacturers? Costs vs. Practicality
Simply put, no. Not all cars are equipped with fog lights because they can be expensive, which increases the cost of the vehicle for consumers.
Moreover, luxury models such as Audi, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, and others seem to abandon fog lights. Considering that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration categorized fog lights as “supplemental equipment,” having no applicable federal requirements for them, it seems that fog lamps are slowly going mainstream, despite their complimentary benefits.
The main reason that all cars are not equipped with fog lights is cost. If a car manufacturer were to supply all of its vehicles with fog lights, the extra expense would have to be passed down to the consumer, resulting in higher sticker prices. Fog lights themselves can run from $50-$200 each, and don’t forget about installation costs!
On top of that, fog lights require additional wiring for their operation. In order for a vehicle to offer fog lights as an option or standard feature, the lighting system must be designed specifically for them – which adds complexity (and therefore cost) to the manufacturing process.
The more electrical components in a vehicle, the more wiring is required to ensure that the system runs smoothly, so you can see how adding fog lights would increase production costs. In fact, money is a central theme in electrical engineering: if you’re going to be a sound engineer who’s not constantly watching your budget, you’ll have to know how to keep other people’s budgets under control!
Of course, if you want fog lights on your car and it doesn’t come equipped with them at the factory level, you always have the option of installing them yourself – either as a DIY project or by taking your car into a local auto repair shop.
Additional Costs, Auxiliary Safety
Fog lights help increase visibility during poor weather conditions by casting a low, wide beam of bright light close to the road surface. This prevents glare from illuminating the fog itself, which is one reason why high-beam headlights can be dangerous in low-visibility conditions.
Although “fog” is the main component in its name, this type of lights can be of assistance in an array of adverse weather conditions, such as sandstorms, rain, and any other context that decreases the visibility under 100 meters.
Are fog lights worth the cost?
Fog lights are an interesting addition to many cars these days, but how useful are they? Is it worth spending the money to add them to your vehicle? The answer is not so simple.
If you do a lot of driving in poor visibility, fog lights can be a valuable addition to your car. If you’re going through heavy snow or thick fog at night, for example, having fog lights can help you keep track of where the edges of the road are and improve visibility. In these cases, fog lights will allow you to drive much more safely than if you didn’t have them.
However, most people don’t actually need fog lights. Most cars only have one set of headlights that can be turned on at a time, while some have a separate switch for fog lights. But even so, high beams won’t always give enough light on their own. This is why it’s important to know what kind of lighting system your car has before you try to use it at night in poor visibility.