No rear fog lights???

No rear fog lights???

Again from the Model S manual. Does this mean there are no rear fog lights in the US:

Or that there is no indication whether the fog lights are on or off?

mrspaghetti | 21 settembre 2012

I don't remember seeing rear fog lights on any of the Model S' I've looked at, or in any pictures. If they're not required in N America I suspect Tesla opted not to put them on.

Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever seen rear fog lights on any car...

olanmills | 21 settembre 2012

Yeah, I've never even heard of rear fog lights before (not that I'm any sort of car expert).

sagebrushnw | 21 settembre 2012


Many European cars (some BMW, MB, Audi, Volvo, Jaguar) have rear fog lights (some on both sides of the rear of the car, those with one, on the left rear). It is a great idea that has not caught on with most US/Japanese manufacturers. I have installed aftermarket rear fog lights on several cars that I have owned through the years. Some, I have redone the rear taillight housings ('81 Jetta, 2002 Subaru Outback wagon)to to have more "factory-like" rear fog lamps. Living in the Seattle area (or other areas that are prone to foggy or cloudy conditions), rear fog lamps are a great idea!

Alex K | 21 settembre 2012

@olanmills | SEPTEMBER 21, 2012: Yeah, I've never even heard of rear fog lights before

I've had rear fog lights on Saab, Mercedes and Porsche cars. All the cars have had a rear fog light on the driver's side. The light was red and about the brightness of a brake light.

As a side note, my current Porsche Panamera Hybrid has an interesting light attribute: the front headlights are dynamic and change shape based on speed and turning angel. In addition, when the fog light switch is turned on, the lights are "fanned out and the light cone is lowered to reduce the risk of the driver being dazzled." So there are no front fog lights on the car, the headlights are adapted for that function.

jkirkebo | 22 settembre 2012

I hate rear fog lights. People tend to keep them on all the time and blinding everyone behind them when it's dark...

nickjhowe | 22 settembre 2012

I'm a Brit who moved to the US. Pretty much every car in UK/Europe has rear fog lights. (I also find it weird not to see orange turn signals on cars in the US)

@jkirkebo you are right that a few [insert insult here] drivers leave them on, but I can't count the number of times they've been invaluable. Here in South Florida I use mine fairly regularly during the torrential storms we get - especially when I'm driving down I-95

Sudre_ | 22 settembre 2012

I imagine they are so other people can see you while you are driving in fog. Have any of you ever been rear ended while driving in fog? Just curious if it's worth the money to purchase the option. My area does not have much fog and what fog I have driven in (10' visibility) I can always see the typical red rear tail lights.... then again I slow down in proportion to how think the fog is.

Not that is should be an option. By all means put it on the list.

Sudre_ | 22 settembre 2012

That last sentence should read....

Not that it shouldn't be an option. By all means put it on the list.

Coffee hasn't settled in yet.

Brian H | 23 settembre 2012

Rear fog lights are most critical for reversing. They should not be left on, IMO, when in forward motion.

sagebrushnw | 23 settembre 2012

@ Brian H

Rear fog lights are red (to be seen in inclement weather), not white to light up the direction that you are backing.

Michael23 | 23 settembre 2012

What's a rear fog light? Also can you set the fogs to be on all the time? Or at least with headlights? I hate having to manually turn them on all the time in sf.

jerry3 | 23 settembre 2012


I never heard of them before this thread either, but I gather they're a honking big red light on the rear that allows others to see you before the regular tail lights are visible. They're bright enough that if you have them on when not needed they will dazzle the person behind you.

Alex K | 23 settembre 2012

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia ( which explains rear fog lamps:

In Europe and other countries adhering to ECE Regulation 48, vehicles must be equipped with one or two bright red "rear fog lamps" (or "fog taillamps"), which serve as high-intensity rear position lamps to be energised by the driver in conditions of poor visibility to enhance vehicle conspicuity from the rear. The allowable range of intensity for a rear fog lamp is 150 to 300 candela,[15] which is within the range of a U.S. stop lamp.[5] For this reason, some European vehicles imported to the United States have their rear fog lamps wired as stop lamps, since their European-specification stop lamps may not be sufficiently intense to comply with U.S. regulations, and in North America rear fog lamps are not required equipment. However, they are permitted, and are found almost exclusively on European-brand vehicles in North America — Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes, MINI, Land Rover, Porsche, Saab and Volvo provide functional rear fog lights on their North American models.

Brian H | 23 settembre 2012

Ja, I guess that makes sense. Rear-enders in fog are a bummer (so to speak).

jerry3 | 23 settembre 2012

The water fog isn't so bad, but ice fog, which comes on an otherwise clear day, is a real killer.

PJP1532 | 2 ottobre 2012

SUDRE must not live in California! Every year there are 4 or 5 multiple car (and truck) pile ups due to fog, rain, smoke or the all covering "reduced visibility" tag. Florida is probably close behind. There are many more reduced visibility accidents that only involve a few vehicles and don't make the news and therefore would require more statistical research.

More importantly, this usually happens on the highway (read higher speeds) and usually results in serious or fatal injuries.

The logic of excluding the fog lights is baffling? Tesla touts the model S as a safe car. Isn’t highway deaths the leading cause of accidental deaths in this country?

Every Tesla buyer should be requesting the rear facing fog lights.

Vawlkus | 2 ottobre 2012

Rear fog lights don't reduce accidents: competent drivers do.

Until this thread, I'd never heard about rear fog lights. Having heard of them, I find the concept laughable. If there are more than a dozen cars in my province with this feature, I'd be extremely surprised. Especially since we get fog that's just a hair less thick than London England's famous pea-soup fogs.

PJP1532 | 2 ottobre 2012

I must have been momentarily overcome with political double speak in my post, not “highway deaths the leading cause”, but rather “highway accidents the leading cause…”

Don't dismiss something simply because you haven't heard of it. They are standard equipment on BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, etc., but since most owners don't read the owner's manual and they will drive the car for years and never use the rear fog light.

As for the comment about competent drivers - no arguement, but there are going to be a high number of competent and even professional drivers who have been involved in a collision, if competance was the sole factor of reducing highway deaths we shouldn't need seatbelts, airbags, etc.

Alex K | 2 ottobre 2012

@Vawlkus | OCTOBER 2, 2012: Rear fog lights don't reduce accidents: competent drivers do.

I can't control the competency of other drivers, but a rear fog light might make an incompetent driver notice my car sooner. As a side note, I've had rear fog lights on most of the cars I've owned and have actually turned on the rear fog light in poor visibility situations. Here in Arizona, that is mostly during heavy monsoon rains or dust storms.

rd2 | 2 ottobre 2012

When were rear fog lights made 'standard' on BMWs? My 2002 3 series has front fog lights, but nada in the rear.

mrspaghetti | 2 ottobre 2012

I kind of feel like, if they can't see the tail lights, they won't see the fog lights either.

nickjhowe | 2 ottobre 2012

@mrspaghet - it is surprising the difference in brightness between normal tail lights and fog lights on European cars. I've used rear fogs plenty of times in the UK and they are definitely a benefit when the conditions call for them.

Michael23 | 2 ottobre 2012

That must be what I see on minis sometimes. I always wondered what it was and why it was so Brits.

sergiyz | 2 ottobre 2012

Jags have them with a weird button at about knee level on the left side.
I can't really turn it on or off without looking.
They are bright, about as bright as break lights.
I never use them.

sagebrushnw | 2 ottobre 2012

@ sergiyz

"Brake" lights, NOT "break" lights. We have brakes on our cars to stop them. If you break your car it probably won't run.

sergiyz | 3 ottobre 2012

Sorry, iPad autocomplete was helping...

Vawlkus | 3 ottobre 2012

They're putting strobe lights on top of school buses in an effort to help people see them.

Really? Drivers can miss seeing a bus sized yellow and black object and you think a LIGHT is going to change that?

No, it doesn't matter what you do, an incompetent driver is STILL gonna be incompetent. It's like what Albert E said "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. "

Timo | 3 ottobre 2012

Really? Drivers can miss seeing a bus sized yellow and black object and you think a LIGHT is going to change that?

If there is thick enough fog you can miss bus, in fact you can miss whole buildings, but lights help visibility a lot.

I just recently talked with my sister and she told me how she had difficulty to pinpoint the crossroads where she was supposed to make a turn because it happened to be other side of the road. She just saw a "something big and red" next to road, which she deduced had to be the big red warehouse a bit before the crossroads she was supposed to take. IOW she couldn't see a huge building some 30meters away properly. Not seeing a bus with dirty rear lights is nothing compared to that.

Mark E | 3 ottobre 2012

@Timo, our sister needs to get her eyes checked.

My wife didn't realise how bad her eyesight had become - and was quite shocked to learn that over the course of year or so it'd deteriorated and she needed glasses.

Her driving improved dramatically - she can now see further again and anticipate.

Here in Australia your eyes are tested a a rudimentary level when you renew a licence. In my case, every 5 years. Realistically that is too long.

Timo | 3 ottobre 2012

No problem with her eyes. I have driven in such fog myself too. Fog sometimes makes driving a funny experience, like driving in smooth-walled perfectly round tunnel. I guess cars have pushed the fog out of the road so that you are surrounded in every direction except the road. Everything else disappears.

I have also seen a fog in my summer cottage where a nearby trees almost completely disappeared in middle of the day, less than ten meters away. That was the thickest fog I have experienced. Walk in the middle of the courtyard and everything around you vanish except the ground you are standing. Eerie feeling.

Mark E | 4 ottobre 2012

@Timo: apologies - although we were at linking about fog - where I agree lots are an enormous help, I misinterpreted your post.

If fog gets that thick then you need to consider the safety of proceeding.

Front and rear fog lights are a valuable addition - although I have rarely used the rears. I have, however been dazzled by people who use them inadvertantly without fog.

In NSW now this has resulted in it being illegal to use any fog lights unless in fog.

Timo | 4 ottobre 2012

I agree that rear fog lights without fog are really irritating. Maybe some automatic system is in order (should not be hard for modern techs to detect fog).

vouteb | 5 ottobre 2012

There 2 sets: 1 for the front (top picture) and 1 for the back(in Europe) bottom picture

Benoitdsl | 29 ottobre 2012

Hello everybody. I'm probably a futur owner and driver of model S in belgium (Europe)

Rear fog lights are necessary. ( legal "pre-sales" & "every year check" of the car ( light , suspensions , directions, tyres, ......)

I hope that tesla model S. Pass trough the technical homologation to be sales in Belgium !?!!

jerry3 | 3 novembre 2012


I wouldn't worry. Tesla will have to redesign the rear lights for Europe anyway so that there will be amber turn signals as well.

mrspaghetti | 11 agosto 2013

I am resurrecting this thread so someone can verify whether the new Fog Light option for the US has both front and rear fogs, or just front?

RanjitC | 11 agosto 2013

My 09 Porsche has the rear fog lamps, it just makes the tail lamps brighter so they can be seen through dense fog or the rooster tail when driving in the rain. I don't understand the problem.