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Why Aren’t Fog Lights Standard on New Cars?

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foggy road with car coming toward camera with fog lights on
Modern lighting technology boosts visibility when you’re driving through the fog
Photo: StockSnap via Pixabay

If you’re shopping for a new vehicle with the latest lighting technology, you might be hard-pressed to find one that has fog lights. We’ve done some digging to find out exactly what happened to fog lights and why the newest cars don’t include them as a standard feature.

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Defining fog lights

foggy road with car coming toward camera with fog lights on
Fog lights can be helpful but newer lighting tech is rendering them obsolete
Photo: llulila via Pixabay

If you’re not familiar with fog lights, they’re auxiliary lights that some cars have to supplement the illumination that comes from the headlights. Fog lights are positioned low on the bumper and they angle toward the ground. Per MotorBiscuit’s Matthew Skwarczek, they’re designed to shed light on the road instead of the water particles that comprise the fog you’re driving through.

Interestingly enough, cars can have either front fog lights or rear fog lights, as DriveSafe Online shares. Rear fog lights provide illumination when backing up in foggy conditions. They also help the drivers behind your vehicle see your car more clearly in foggy weather.

Why they’re becoming obsolete

New lighting technology is the main reason that fog lights are starting to become passé on new cars. It’s more common to find models equipped with lidar, infrared sensors, and daytime running lights, says Skwarczek. Some vehicles have adaptive headlights, which turn their beams in the direction you’re steering and automatically adjust their intensity to boost visibility in dim driving conditions.

In addition, fog lights aren’t a mandatory car feature here in the States. Not only does the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration not regulate them, but this organization views them as “supplementary lighting equipment.”

Read about a cool new tech that uses sub-terahertz wavelengths to help driverless cars operate safer in foggy weather. Then learn about a new sensor system that helps prevent windshields from fogging up.

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