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thoughts on fogs, DLs, city lights and BONEHEADS
I found this in a Car & Driver on a flight back from Japan and it seemed
to be timely. A writer asks about various fogs, DLs, city and parking-
lights and this response is in the 'Technical Correspondence' piece.
"Rear foglights are additional, extra-bright taillamps with red lenses.
They are switched on during periods of low visibility, such as fog or
rain, to provide extra warning of the vehicle's presence to motorists
approaching from behind. To our knowledge, they are common
only in Europe.
To date, no data conclusively shows daytime running lights provide
increased safety under normal US conditions, therefore it seems
doubtful that they will be required. Note that the countries that
currently require daytime running lights are predominately Northern,
with a large percentage of dark days.
Driving lights are auxiliary lamps with lenses designed to throw a
wide beam of light. They supplement the headlights and long-distance
'pencil-beam' auxiliary lights by illuminating the front sides or corners.
They are especially useful when cornering, and differ from fog lights,
which project much of their light downward. Today, however, the term
'driving light' has been so overused that it had come to mean any
Parking lights got their name from earlier times when they were left
illuminated all night while the car was parked on narrow city streets.
In Europe, cars are often wired to allow only the left- or right-side
parking lights to be used, as necessary. This conserves battery power."
Edited by Tom Wilson
So there you have it from the 'experts'.
My personal conclusions:
Any auxiliary forward-facing lamp is now a DL or 'Driving Light'.
'DL' is no longer a useful description for auxiliary lighting, IMFO,
and more detailed descriptions and names must be used by we
enthusiasts to be clear in what we are talking about.
So I most humbly propose:
1) front foglight (so the driver can see in thick fog when reflection from the lowbeams is excessive)
2) rear foglight (so drivers to the rear can see the car in front at greater distances in poor visibility)
3) aux lowbeam (to augment the factory lowbeams)
4) aux highbeam (to augment the factory highbeams)
5) pencilbeam (to augment the factory highbeams at great distances, not typically use on public roads)
6) rally lights (could be 3, 4, or 5 or any combination of the above including illegal wattage levels and also
including illegal numbers and sizes of lamps, normally required to be covered on public roads)
6) off-road lighting, see #6 above, typical on SUVs
Typical US laws & regulations vary from state-to-state, YLLMV.
My personal lighting usage guidelines:
NEVER >2x front lamps of >5-10w of any type lit in the presence of oncoming traffic (law)
NEVER >4x front lamps of >5-10w of any type lit at any time (law)
if oncoming traffic - dip to lowbeams only or aux lowbeams only, whatever works best in conditions at hand
following traffic without oncoming traffic - lowbeams and/or aux lowbeams for conditions at hand (both might not be legal in all states)
no oncoming no following other traffic - highbeams + aux highbeams or aux pencilbeams but never >4x forward lamps
when fogs are really needed - out the lowbeams, run fogs only (this is what fogs are for!)
only when fogs are really needed - rear foglight on OK
when transitioning through fogbanks with no oncoming traffic - alternate from highbeams+aux low/highbeams to fogs only
when transitioning through fogbanks with oncoming traffic - alternate from lowbeams only or aux lowbeams only to fogs only
when oncoming has >2x forward lights of any type >5/10W - quick & courteous 'flash', if feeling generous try again with
another friendly reminder, if still no response hit 'em with all you've got! (prolly not legal in some states, oughttahbe)
when sitting at a red light - dip to citylights only - as courtesy to oncoming traffic
in very well lighted areas of cities - citylights only optional or lowbeams only or aux lowbeams only
when 'active parking' - no lights on and interior lights switched off such that they do not 'come' on when any door is opened, BTDT :)
All strictly IMFO, if everyone followed these rules the roads would be a more pleasant, less stressful and
safer place for all of use to be enjoying our quattros with our friends and families.
Yeah, right, where did I just wake up at? With all these combinations and permutations is it no wonder that the average
American has absolutely NFC!?!
NOTE: Plenty of scientific data shows that DRLs save many many lives on 2-wheel vehicles and sno-mobiles.
Logic follows that DRLs on automobiles, trucks and busses would/will save lives as well, IMFO. I run my
citylights as DRLs, they are no where near as bothersome to others as are the GM-type highbeam DRLs.