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OT: Fog Lights or Driving Lights?
Posted by: SKYLANE
Date: December 21, 2005 05:40PM
I have a 2003 Toyota Sequoia, my Xmas present to myself is having driving lights or fog lights installed in it. I am leaning towards the driving lights. Which do you prefer if you had a choice and why?

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Re: OT: Fog Lights or Driving Lights?
Posted by: davester
Date: December 21, 2005 05:51PM
The choice is entirely dependent on where you drive. If you spend a lot of time driving in deserted rural areas or offroad you should either upgrade your headlights or get driving lights. It's pretty likely that upgrading your headlights would give you more bang for the buck than driving lights. Also, driving lights are generally illegal for onroad use.


If you live in an area that gets lots of heavy fog (i.e. can't see more than 30 feet, as happens near my house) then fog lights are the thing to get.

The difference between the two is that driving lights are basically longer-reach high-beams. They are best mounted high. You can't use them in traffic but they open up the road ahead if it's really dark.
Fog lights are the opposite. They are used along with your low beams and spread a very wide but short beam that allows you to see things to the side (i.e. the side of the road and the centerline) so that you don't crash off the side of the road. They are mounted low so as to be able to see under the fog (which often doesn't reach all the way to the ground because the road is warm). Their downside is that they frequently get broken due to their low mounting points.

If neither situation above applies to you then go spend money on something else. I know some people in urban areas where they are useless and annoying to other drivers buy these things for "looks". If that is your case, then just buy some cheapos that have cool looking covers on them and leave them switched off.




Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2005 06:07PM by davester.
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Re: OT: Fog Lights or Driving Lights?
Posted by: jimbrady
Date: December 21, 2005 05:59PM
So far, one answer on each forum... but the one here is way more useful.
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Re: OT: Fog Lights or Driving Lights?
Posted by: bill b
Date: December 21, 2005 06:03PM
Fog lights, as long as they are really fog lights and not driving lights with yellow lenses.
They also have to be positioned and aimed correctly to have any benifit when actually driving in fog.
Driving lights are worthless on anything but a truck that can take advantage of them, IMO, and that's usually off-road.
Your car would have to have really crappy lights to benefit from driving lights, beyond "looks".
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Re: OT: Fog Lights or Driving Lights?
Posted by: bill b
Date: December 21, 2005 06:09PM
My apologies for calling a Sequoia a 'car'.
Really can't stand the 'UTE' moniker, and not my definition of a truck.
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Re: OT: Fog Lights or Driving Lights?
Posted by: rexrzer
Date: December 21, 2005 07:37PM
The best thing for your "UTE" would be to upgrade the existing headlights with high intensity bulbs. Most OEM lights on USA cars and trucks (imports included, except for when autos have been equipped with optional Xenon lighting systems) are totally inadequate for anything except well lighted areas, surburban traffic and freeways, and they can be upgraded easily.

When I bought my M-Benz C230 Kompressor Sport, the first thing I did to it was replace the OEM bulbs with high-intensity units. There's nothing illegal about doing it, and if they are properly aimed (aligned) they won't be offensive to other drivers. What a difference doing that made! Now my normal driving lights, the low beams, are strong and clear illuminators, while the high beams light up the road at least twice as well as the OEM lights did. It really helps your peace of mind to have such lights if you do any kind of spirited driving at night, or if traveling in rural areas without the benefit of roadway lighting.

I've been saved from hitting a deer, and avoided many other problems because of the upgraded lights in the C230. I think the total cost for upgrading the lights was less than $75.

______________





What's the difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make some sense.
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Re: OT: Fog Lights or Driving Lights?
Posted by: jimbrady
Date: December 21, 2005 07:37PM
> not my definition of a truck

Not big enough?
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Re: OT: Fog Lights or Driving Lights?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: December 21, 2005 09:33PM
fog lights have - or are supposed to have, by definition - a different lens than driving lights. the fog light is supposed to cut glare from the fog, so the lens diverts the light in a wider swath than the driving light, which makes a narrow, thinner beam to look further down the road. that is the only "difference" in the lights. nothing to do with intensity, etc.
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Re: OT: Fog Lights or Driving Lights?
Posted by: bill b
Date: December 22, 2005 08:27AM
jimbrady Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> > not my definition of a truck
>
> Not big enough?


No bed.

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Re: OT: Fog Lights or Driving Lights?
Posted by: BW
Date: December 22, 2005 08:31AM
First replace your headlight bulbs with Sylvania Silverstars. You can get them at any Wal*Mart, and they are the only bulbs I've found that offer a real and useful improvement in your ability to see at night. They cost a little more and they don't last quite as long, but the difference in visibility is well worth it. The light is brighter and whiter without that stupid-looking blue, green, or pink cast that most "improved" bulbs have. Best of all, they are perfectly legal and the same wattage as regular bulbs, so you just drop them in with no need to upgrade your vehicle wiring.

If you get driving lights, please don't leave them on ALL THE FREAKING TIME, even when the night is perfectly clear and there's a ton of traffic around you... Ford Explorer drivers are the worst -- most Exploders come with those ornamental "fog" lights from the factory, and the morons who buy them seem to think everyone will enjoy the light show all the time. Pontiac cars also have ornamental lights and moron drivers, but at least their lights are mounted down low where they're a little less irritating.

Ahem. Sorry -- you're not one of those idiots. But it had to be said.

I've never found fog lights to be at all useful in actual fog. Not one single bit. They might possibly improve your visibility to other traffic by a foot or two, but you can't see any further or better. Usually worse, actually, because of the increased glare. YMMV.

However, properly mounted and properly used driving lights can be useful in certain rare situations. (NO oncoming traffic.) The built-in lights that come from the factory on some cars are invariably useless, but you can set up real driving lights in different ways for different situations. For example, if you drive a lot of curves, you can set up your driving lights in a crossing or splayed pattern to better illuminate the shoulders and curves. If there are a lot of deer roads in your area, you can set them up to light up the shoulder and any suicidal deer or possums. If you're primarily interested in straight line high speed, then aim them far down the road.

The key is to get a set that you can aim in different ways and then go out and experiment to determine what's best for your situation. And then have the discipline to turn them off around other traffic.

Frankly, real driving lights are kinda ugly -- they're big, mounted as high as possible, are high wattage (use a relay, please) and have good mounting systems that you can adjust easily but that will hold their position. The compact, sleek-looking units are pretty useless. But hey, trucks look pretty cool with big ugly lights, so who cares?
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Re: OT: Fog Lights or Driving Lights?
Posted by: davester
Date: December 22, 2005 10:58AM
BW Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've never found fog lights to be at all useful in
> actual fog. Not one single bit. They might
> possibly improve your visibility to other traffic
> by a foot or two, but you can't see any further or
> better. Usually worse, actually, because of the
> increased glare. YMMV.

In that case, you must not have had the lights aimed or mounted properly, or you're expecting them to be useful on the highway (not). We live in a hilly area with winding roads and often very dense fog. Both of our cars have factory fog lights which are a godsend. Without them I'd probably have to pull over. With them, I can at least see the sides of the road and centerline and a little bit down the road so that I can continue driving (albeit slowly).
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Re: OT: Fog Lights or Driving Lights?
Posted by: SteveJobs
Date: December 22, 2005 12:30PM
I call all vehicles cars.
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Re: OT: Fog Lights or Driving Lights?
Posted by: SKYLANE
Date: December 22, 2005 12:57PM
Thanks guys... appreciate the responses...
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Re: OT: Fog Lights or Driving Lights?
Posted by: BW
Date: December 22, 2005 05:14PM
davester Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In that case, you must not have had the lights
> aimed or mounted properly, or you're expecting
> them to be useful on the highway (not). We live
> in a hilly area with winding roads and often very
> dense fog. Both of our cars have factory fog
> lights which are a godsend. Without them I'd
> probably have to pull over. With them, I can at
> least see the sides of the road and centerline and
> a little bit down the road so that I can continue
> driving (albeit slowly).


You have a good point. Here in Indiana we don't get quite the experience with pea soup fog that other areas do!

All the fog lights I've tried have been worse than useless in actual fog, but I can definitely see that a properly designed light (lower wattage, correct pattern) would be useful.

I think the problem with a lot of "fog" lights is that they are way too bright (scattering and glare) and/or incorrectly designed. You need a totally different light pattern, not just a yellow filter in front of a driving light lens.
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