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Auxiliary Lighting Overview

People generally buy auxiliary lighting because their vehicle headlights don’t provide adequate coverage for off-road or inclement weather challenges. In some cases, folks buy auxiliary lights to improve the appearance of their vehicle. The following terms provide an overview of some common lighting patterns.

Terms:

  • Fog Pattern– is ideally a controlled pattern with a wide range that provides better visibility while minimizing glare.
  • Flood Pattern– a diffused light pattern normally utilized in work lamps to provide a full, short range illumination area.
  • Driving or Spot Light Pattern– a focused, long range pattern that extends high beam range.
  • Projector Light– this term is often misunderstood. A projector light has a shield built into its housing to provide an exceptional cut off pattern. The trade off is you get half of the effective light generated but the plus side is the pattern on a quality projector light has a razor sharp cut off.
  • Combo Pattern– commonly used in LED Light Bars. This pattern is effective for mid-range use, sometimes not as deep as your high beam light output.

Halogen, HID, LED Technologies:

The old school, Halogen bulb powered Auxiliary Lighting was a huge improvement over incandescent bulbs. The next generation of high output upgrade bulbs were High Intensity Discharge or HID bulbs. In general, HID bulbs have produced a brighter output than LED bulbs. LED bulbs have become a great solution because of their efficiency, long life and style. Light Emitting Diode equipped bulbs are constantly evolving and are closing in on HID bulbs for bright output. In the Auxiliary lamp segment of the lighting business, LED equipped lights, light bars and work lights dominate over other technologies.

Street Legal?

SAE/DOT approved lighting is street legal anywhere in North America. An SAE/DOT light has a mark and code embossed into the lens, in general. This SAE mark on a light or light bar means it does not have to be covered when not in use, anywhere in North America. Please check with local law enforcement if you have any questions on this topic.

In some parts of the European Union, Canada and other countries, the E-Mark designation carries the same approvals. Again, check with local law enforcement if you have questions on this topic.

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