Difference Between Fog Lights And Headlights

Although any light bulb set on the front of the vehicle is considered a headlight by many, in reality, this is not entirely true. Lights can be of different types, even if these are placed to one another. That’s why understanding the difference is pretty important, especially if you are regularly driving at night.

For night-riders, headlight and fog light are two useful illumination tools that make it buttery smooth for them to ride in pitch-dark.

But if you don’t know the difference between fog lights and headlights, you won’t be able to make the most out of these two lights.

In this piece, we will have a look at the key points of difference between these two light sources for better clarity in understanding. Let’s begin.

What is Headlight?

Headlights are the easiest to identify when it comes to categorizing vehicle lights. The lights that are fitted to the vehicle’s front are typically known as headlights. Apart from headlights, these lights are commonly known as low-beam or driving lights, too.

However, these very lights can also be used as high-beam lights that are generally used to cut through denser darkness on highways or give signals to the approaching vehicle from the opposite side.

What is Fog Light?

The fog light is pretty different than a headlight. As you can tell from the name, it’s actually meant for use when there’s too much fog ahead of you. Usual headlights struggle to pierce through dense fog, especially during winter.

That’s where fog light comes into play. Fog lights can produce a wide beam of sharp light that can cut through the density of fog pretty smoothly.

Fog lights are usually placed right below the headlights and are not used unless quite necessary. As the shape of the fog light is kind of a narrow bar, it may not be quite a soothing light for riders coming from the opposite direction.

That’s why it’s ideal to use fog light only if there’s dense fog around you and you need it to make sure you don’t get into any trouble getting blinded by it.

Headlight vs Fog Light – What’s the Difference?

I guess the difference between these two lights is already apparent to you from the definitions. However, let’s pinpoint some of the most obvious ways these two lights differ from each other.


As discussed before, headlights are usually meant for general lighting for driving at night. Plus, it’s also used to shed high-beam light in order to assess the distance in dark areas and to alert the approaching vehicle of your existence.

Fog light has a special purpose different from this. It is explicitly used to ward off fog ahead of you.

Fog light, in reality, is used as an auxiliary light for the headlight to help it clean off the dense fog in front of you.

Apart from fog, fog lights can be used to offer you a clear picture in case of dusty roads and on rainy days, as well. Plus, in extreme cases, you can even light it up to look through snowfall, too.


Headlights usually use the light color as the default light color. Generally, white and light-yellow colors seem to be the most popular color for headlights.

You have the freedom to customize the color tone according to your wish and personality.

On the other hand, fog light is usually pretty white and exceptionally brighter than the standard headlight. Although traditionally, we did find some of the fog lights to be yellowish, these are rarely seen these days.

Application of Law

According to US law, you need to turn on the headlights 30 minutes before sunset turn them off 30 minutes before sunrise.

Fog lights are not regulated like this. However, the traffic department does encourage that you use fog lights in case of necessity.


Headlights are placed right on the middle point of the lighting box of the car. It projects light parallel to the vision of the driver.

Plus, it is placed in such a way that it may give you a long-range vision while you turn on the high-beam light.

On the other hand, fog lights are placed right below the headlights, and these emit a narrow bar light that travels a bit below the long-range light of the headlight.

Final Words

Now that you know the difference between fog lights and headlights, we hope it’ll get pretty smooth from here for you to decide which one to use when.

If you are someone who needs to ride quite often at night through foggy or snowy roads, it’s almost inevitable that you need to install a fog light in your car lighting system. As for the headlight, it’s already there; the only thing you can do is customize the color of it!

Good luck!

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