So you have decided to add some auxiliary lighting to that new truck, but you’re not sure what to get. There are 4 basic types of aftermarket lights, and they all have their place. We will cover all 4 here, and then it is up to you to figure out what your needs are.
Long range lights
These are what most people think of when they say off road lights. Rather than the wide beam of your headlights, these have a long, narrow beam that lights up the horizon, even at higher speeds. These lights are perfect for true off-roaders such as hunters and off-road aficionados. They are also great for driving in rural areas with limited street lights or where lighting is generally poor. Long range lights can be blinding though, and are generally not legal for the street, so use common sense when using them.
Just as the name implies, these are everyday driving lights. They shine farther and wider than the headlights, and compliment the stock lighting on your truck. Driving lights are very useful to create visibility near the sides of roadways and out in front of the vehicle. They are great for all around trail riding as well.
Fog lights are intended to be mounted below the headlights and project a beam pattern which is very wide horizontally and narrow vertically usually called a cut-off. This pattern lights up a pathway close to the ground but does not light the airborne particles in the line of sight while driving - this increases the visibility in harder to see conditions. Fog lights are intended to be used when visibility is poor and obstructed by fog, rain, or snow. They are intended to light the road surface and the curb, shoulder, and edges of the road. Fog lights have a limited range and are most effective at low speeds. Because of their design, fog lights reduce the glare back from fog or falling snow which makes them a better choice in such conditions. But only if mounted properly 18-20” off the road as discussed above.
Flood beams create a large wide pattern of light that floods an area with an extremely tall vertical and wide horizontal light pattern. These lights are typically used as work lights and back-up lights to see a broader area at shorter distances, again, perfect for serious off-roading.
Now, you have the basics, and you have to choose. Long range, driving, fog or flood lights. It can be a tricky decision to make. To make the right decision you really must have a clear understanding of what kind of driving you do most. The sensible way of going about it is to buy what suits your driving pattern. If you do mostly highway driving, for example, your requirements will be different than someone who drives mostly on rural roads. A long distance highway driver might require and use all 4 kinds of lights.