10 Types Of Car Lights And Their Purposes
Since clear visibility is a vital component of safe driving, cars often have a variety of lights to ensure a clear view of the road. These lights are very important for drivers, especially when driving in bad weather or at night.'
Each light has unique and crucial meanings, and you should be aware of those lights, use them correctly, and maintain them frequently. To ensure safe driving and understand the use of the lights whenever needed, go through ten types of car lights and explore their purposes.
A lamp connected to the front of a car to beam the road ahead is a headlight or headlamp that gives you confidence on the road by promoting fatigue-free and safe driving. Properly functioning headlights are critical to your safety on the road.
Most vehicles have headlights that feature both low and high beams. Both headlamps enable you to see road conditions clearly and alert other drivers of your automobile.
Low Beam Headlights
At the front of your car, you have low-intensity lights that reach a short distance called low beams. It provides brightness over a small road surface of about 200 while limiting the light directed into the eyes of other drivers.
Purpose: The short-range light emitted by the low beams is perfect for driving in traffic when you don't want to daze other drivers with bright high beams.
High Beams Headlights
Your car has high-intensity lights that illuminate a greater distance, called high beam headlights on the turn signal lever. These lamps brighten the road area up to 350 to 400 feet, twice the distance as low beams.
Purpose: The long beam makes it easier to focus and enables a longer reaction time when there's a barrier in the way.
2. Fog Lights
Fog lights are mounted lower than the headlights. The rear fog lights are incorporated into the rear light cluster and brighten the road directly in front of the car. These lamps are not legally required, and some manufacturers don't offer them on base models.
This light is said to be 30 times brighter than regular lights, so it's essential to use the fog lamps accordingly.
Purpose of fog lights:
- The lamps are designed to control light reflection and glare.
- Generally, fog lights are turned on to improve visibility in foggy weather, heavy rain, fog, or thunderstorms.
- Rear fog lights help drivers behind to see your car in bad weather, as they use very bright bulbs to cut through fog and smoke.
3. Hazard Or Warning Lights
Hazard or warning lights are usually amber front and tail lamps that wink on and off to alert every driver on the road next to you. When something is wrong in your car, the lights on the left and right of the vehicle flash simultaneously. They light up briefly every time you start your vehicle when your car warms up.
Purpose of hazard or warning lights:
- Design to suggest that your car is experiencing a problem
- Ensure that all systems are safe and you are ready to go
- If you discover something dangerous in front of you, the hazard lights alert other divers that you are slowing down and warn them of danger ahead.
- The warning lights on your car dashboard might help you avoid a car breakdown or full-on failure.
A red light at the rear of your car is a taillight or rear position light, which provides clarity to the back. These are only required to produce a red light and to be lit when the front position lights are on, including when the headlights are switched on. Taillights can be attached to the vehicle's stop lights or separate.
Purpose of taillights:
- Like headlights, taillights help improve your car's visibility to oncoming vehicles at night, so they work for safety.
- Taillights assist you in keeping a safe distance between your car and the vehicle in front, avoiding accidents.
- Allow the driver to see other vehicles in harsh weather.
5. Direction-signal Lights
Direction-signal or turn lights are any of the four signal lamps on the front left or right and rear left or right of your car, when activated by the driver, indicating the direction in which the driver will turn. They are normally located close to the headlights and taillights.
Purpose of turn signal lights:
- Demonstrate slowdown and a change in direction and alert other drivers to the turn
- Make the car more visible to other drivers when it is dark or during poor visibility
- Avoid accidents, as the failure to change the turn signal lights will cause issues for other drivers and may lead to accidents.
6. Driving Lamps
Driving lamps are additional lights installed on the vehicle that are used as extra high-beam headlights. Driving lights fitted to heavy vehicles have traditionally been spotlights, but due to technology changes, the use of LED light bars as driving lights is common. They are usually attached to the front grille.
Purpose of driving lamps:
- Used as an accessory to the car's existing headlights
- Designed to project light further and wider than your headlights to better illuminate the road over long distances
- Unlike low beams, their beams are not designed to prevent glare, and therefore, driving lights are safe, effective, and legal only for use in conjunction with a vehicle's main high beam headlights on dark, empty roads.
7. Reverse Lights
The reverse lights or backlights are usually white to distinguish them from the red tail lights. This light is mounted on the back of your vehicle and is so connected that it lights up whenever your car is about to move backward, illuminating the way behind. Each vehicle must have 1 or 2 rear-mounted, rear-facing reversing lights.
Purpose of reverse lights:
- To supply illumination to the back when reversing
- Signals vehicle coming from behind that you are about to reverse the car.
- Similarly, like the hazard lights, the backup light is also designed to warn other road users about auto movement, which helps prevent major accidents or mishaps.
Stoplights or brake lights are installed on the left and right sides of the rear of your car. This light activates when you press the brake pedal, warning drivers behind you that you are slowing down. These red, steadily lit rear lights are brighter than the rear position lights.
Purpose of stoplights:
- Brake tail lights inform other drivers when you are stopping or slowing down
- Ensure road safety by controlling rear-end collisions and enhancing visibility in adverse situations
- When your dashboard brake light comes on, your car is telling you that your vehicle is low on brake fluid
- The brake warning light is activated due to low brake fluid level, sensor failure, worn brake pads, or breakdown in the anti-lock braking system.
9. Daytime Driving Lights
Daytime driving lights are an automotive lighting device on the front of a vehicle that automatically switches on when the car's handbrake is pulled down, when it's in gear, or when you start the engine, emitting yellow, white, or amber light. It switches off when turning on the headlights or turning off the car.
They are used during the day and don't substitute the role of the headlights. These lights emit a brighter glare when the headlamps are off and will dim slightly in combination with the headlamps on.
Purpose of daytime running lights:
- Their intended use of daytime driving lights is not to assist the driver in seeing the road or their surroundings but to help other road users identify an active vehicle.
- Improve road safety by enabling following drivers to detect your car quickly when the headlights are not turned on.
10. Dashboard And Interior Light
As the name implies, interior and dashboard lights are located inside the car.
Dashboard lights are illuminated when people enter or exit. This light makes sure about your safety. When it comes to dashboard lights, colors matter.
- Green/ blue lights: The system is active or operating
- Orange/yellow warning lights: Your vehicle needs service or repair soon.
- Red light: Security warning (such as seat belt reminder), mechanical (such as the engine overheating), or take immediate action.
Generally, interior lights are suited to the ceiling of the car. The interior lights are usually dim yellow, so the light does not interrupt the view of the car behind.
- The vehicle's interior light is usually left on until passengers buckle their seat belts securely after starting the engine.
- Help you read maps or find lost objects in the dark.
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