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I've come from a long line of German auto ownership. In fact, I still have two Benzes in the stable. Starting with my first one, a 1959 190B Ponton to my current 1989 300CE coupé, fog lights were always amber in color and driving lights were white in color.

It was either one or the other. One couldn't have both on a car at the same time, (if you stick with OEM, that is). Both threw a low, wide beam in front of the car. The amber color would cut through the fog better than a white light which would refract more light back to a driver. In fact, on some models, you could just switch lenses and have either fog lights or running lights. It is also possible to run with the fog/running lights without using the headlights, either normal beam or high beam.

With this in mind, why does Toyota, (and everybody else), call what is on the RAV4 a "fog light" when they are not amber in color and cannot be used independent of the regular headlights? Should not they more accurately be called "driving lights"?

Just curious, (because in my mind, they really aren't "fog lights").
 

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Fog lights cast a wide beam with a low cutoff.
With proper pattern, the amber color is not required.
Their function is not for you to see, it is for you to BE seen without dazzling yourself or oncoming drivers as the high beams would.

Fog lights, by law, may not be used IN PLACE OF the regular headlights, thus, USDOT regulations require that they shut off when the headlights shut off.
Likewise, they must shut off when the high beams are activated, as high beams are not to be used in fog.

Driving lights have a more narrow pattern that casts further down the road.
Driving lights are intended to augment the high beams and must shut off when the headlights are switched to low beams.

European standards for lighting have always been very different from US standards, to the point that in the 70s many police officers would pull people over for having amber turn signals on the rear believing them to be illegal. Likewise for bulb-type halogen headlights... sealed beams were used exclusively on US production until the early 80s, and European imports were required to be retrofit.

Very few vehicles sold in the US are equipped with factory driving lights.
"Running lights" in the US are also referred to as "Parking lights" and are not to be used in motion on the road without the headlights active.
Running/parking lights are for visibility so others can see you. Logically, if running lights are needed, then headlights are needed as well.
The alternative term "parking lights" is they may also be needed for visibility in situations where headlights may be prohibited or restricted, such as military installations, private parking lots, etc....
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info. Quite informative. I've always thought fog lights were amber, hence the confusion. Your explanation is 'enlightening'.
 

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If I had fog lights on my RAV I'd rather that they were amber. They have been available on Ebay and the internet. The white ones in dense fog reflect back into one's eyes and make matters worse, especially on dim and dark days. And driving with high beams in fog especially at night is quite blinding.
 

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Careful on the eBay housings. They tend to leak, and I've had the chrome appear to "corrode" away to a dull white.

They look good, just be prepared to replace them every couple of years.
 

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I had several Chrysler vehicles that would allow fog lights on without headlights being on (late 90s and early 2000s)...always liked being able to drive with just them on...I have made the mod to my rav that allows me to drive with only fog and parking lights on...I have the Morimoto xb led fog lights and they work decent on their own...
 

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Amber color has, of course, less blue light. Blue is a higher frequency which is not absorbed well in fog - does not 'cut through' it well. Red into near infrared would work better if we could see it. :)

When I lived in Northwest France near Germany in the early Sixties, amber headlights were required by law.

I did some photographs of our part of the Upper Mississippi River where one cannot see across the river due to the persistent haze/fog. Here is one example that shows how effective infrared is in penetrating the suspended moisture. On any day it is impossible to see the bluffs on the other side. (You might have to click-to-zoom to see the bluffs.)
 

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You could just change the bulb colour to yellow or amber if you do not want to change the lens or housing itself.
That's what I did with the Ebay housing on my RAV4.


 

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Maybe this is applicable, looking at it differently. For skiing, amber goggles are better in fog. Contrast is improved in flat white on white lighting and provide better terrain definition. From REI Sports:
Lighter lens tints have a higher VLT (Visible Light Transmission) because more light passes through the lens. Yellow, gold, amber, green or rose-colored lenses all offer increased VLT and make good choices on cloudy, socked-in days.

So maybe amber light projected from fog lights would also be more effective to see and be seen.
 

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You could just change the bulb colour to yellow or amber if you do not want to change the lens or housing itself.
That's what I did with the Ebay housing on my RAV4.


What size bulb did you use and where did you get a color bulb from? I have a 2015 and I'm going to change mine to a yellow. At at my automotive stores they only sell white bulbs though
 

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What size bulb did you use and where did you get a color bulb from? I have a 2015 and I'm going to change mine to a yellow. At at my automotive stores they only sell white bulbs though
They are also a mis-labeled 35w lamp.
The base is correct for the part number, but the wattage is not correct.
Some have reported standard 55w lamps damaging the housings.
 

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Maybe this is applicable, looking at it differently. For skiing, amber goggles are better in fog. Contrast is improved in flat white on white lighting and provide better terrain definition. From REI Sports:
Lighter lens tints have a higher VLT (Visible Light Transmission) because more light passes through the lens. Yellow, gold, amber, green or rose-colored lenses all offer increased VLT and make good choices on cloudy, socked-in days.

So maybe amber light projected from fog lights would also be more effective to see and be seen.
Another effect, and why hunters use amber glasses, is the amber provides a slight reduction in overall light, but it causes the eye to believe that more light it hitting it.
This causes the iris to close slightly, which sharpens vision, just like going to a smaller aperture on a camera.

Personally, I can't stand "mellow yellow" vision in anything but hazy conditions. In bright sunlight, the color shift makes me feel like I'm in the middle of a blazing desert.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Another effect, and why hunters use amber glasses, is the amber provides a slight reduction in overall light, but it causes the eye to believe that more light it hitting it.

This causes the iris to close slightly, which sharpens vision, just like going to a smaller aperture on a camera.
This is so true! One late afternoon when I was out riding, (bicycle), I was caught out in the dusk and was pretty far from home. I always wear glasses, (anti-bug protection), and for some reason, had the yellow/amber lenses on the glasses.

When I pulled into the driveway and removed the glasses, I couldn't believe how dark it had become. But, while riding with the glasses, my vision was very, very clear and everything was bright enough to ride safely. I can just hear someone asking, "Why are you riding in the dark?" It sure didn't seem dark with those yellow lenses.
 

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In snow and fog, have you noticed how your brights, which throw light down the road, can make seeing the road harder? The light hits the fog particles or snowflakes and sends the light back to dazzle your eyes.

Fog lights are pointed even lower to light the nearby road but their placement means that the light is not shining where it will dazzle your eyes much.

There are similarly placed lights called driving lights. Those are brights. By side effect or design, they dazzle the eyes of oncoming cars.
 

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I remember in late 70's after market fog lights were all the rage where I grew up. and they were aimed low on the road. most had them set up which made their cars alittle cooler looking. and they did the job too.
 

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What size bulb did you use and where did you get a color bulb from? I have a 2015 and I'm going to change mine to a yellow. At at my automotive stores they only sell white bulbs though

Mine is an H8 bulb since it is a 4.3. I bought it from Amazon.com.
Light output is not super bright; I wanted a real fog light that would just cut through fog and snow, not to make a fashion statement :)
My housing never got damaged but I am not sure if I have the 35W or 55W version.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0013JDW3Y?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage
 

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I know this thread is over a week old, but just wanted to chime in on the fog light situation. I've just ordered a set of yellow Philips LED bulbs. They should be tomorrow. I was planning on doing a review of them in our 2014 R4 fog light lenses and posting them over on ToyotaNation, similar to how I did a review on the white versions here.

Just to "shed some light" (hehe...get it) on the whole H8, H11, and H16 debacle, just in case there is some confusion. Sorry if this is beating a dead horse. All three have the same base. The bulbs will all twist in regardless of the specific bulb size. The differentiating factor is the watts. H8 are 35 watts. H11 bulbs are 55 watts. H16 bulbs are 19 watts. So it is essential to know what bulbs are stock, so you don't "overpower/load" the line/circuit.

That's why I have used the Philips LEDs. They have the brightness of the H11 halogen bulbs, yet, only pull 9.3 watts. That means, if you have a 4.4 RAV4 with the H16 fog light bulb size, you will net a safe and significant increase in the amount of lumens from the fog lights. I previously ran white Philips LED fog lights in the old 2013 RAV4, but this time I ordered yellow to try something else out. I also ordered 9006 rebased Philips 85122 HID bulbs from XenonDepot that I will modify the base of to fit the 9005 bulb size. But I'll leave those details for another thread. :D

I'm excited to get everything in and install it all! I guess I'll post the review over here since it is for the RAV4!
 
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