In Europe and Japan, there is a mandatory regulation that requires all cars to have a rear fog lamp installed and positioned on the driver side lower rear bumper. The purpose of this lamp is to increase visibility of the car on the road in poor conditions such as fog and haze. While this is not a requirement in the US, it is still permitted to have and is found on many imported cars such as Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ, Volkswagen GTi, etc.
On the freeway, some European vehicles may have the driver side of the tail light illuminated brighter than the other side and while many may think this is a defective light, it is actually acting as a rear fog light. If this is something that catches another driver’s eye, it is serving its purpose quite well. The rear fog light in Europe has the same brightness as a stop light for vehicles in the United States.
Unlike the rear fog light, the United States does require all vehicles made after 1986 to have a functioning third brake light that lights up with the outside tail lights when stepping on the brakes. This signals to other drivers on the road that you are slowing down since the outside tail lights may not be as noticeable. The more light that is available during the day or night will increase visibility of the vehicle to prevent accidents from happening and is something that should be taken quite seriously. In the United States, there are many vehicles that have red reflector lenses on the rear bumper so the light from other cars can reflect off it.
In the aftermarket world, alternative lighting solutions have been introduced to allow car owners to get the add-on rear fog light for both better styles to make the car looks prettier and also to improve the safety.
For example, LED bumper reflectors are invented to fit many cars such as Lexus IS250/IS350, Honda CR-Z, and Kia Optima. This kind of LED bumper reflectors will convert the dummy reflectors with LED lights inside to function as 4th brake light (also as rear fog light)
Another example is the all new LED conversion for cars like Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ and Nissan 370Z’s rear center reflector. With the drill pit, wiring, socket and LED light in this conversion kit, car owner can “plant” a LED bulb inside this rear center reflector housing to work as this 4th brake/tail/fog light.
With no doubt, more innovated ideas for the rear fog light designs will come out to make the cars not only safer on the road, but also better looking.