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Exterior Car Lights Facts

Below is a list of some of the exterior lights found on a car and an interesting fact about each one.

Headlights – The first lights in cars were fueled lamps. Electric headlights first started being used around 1900 and in 1904 Peerless became the first manufacturer to include them as standard.

Tail Lights – There are several theories about why these are red which include: red is easier to see then other colors and that red stood for ‘stop’ with railroads so it was natural to continue that with cars.

Daytime Running Lights – These lights were first mandated in Scandinavian countries due to the dark winter season.

Fog Lights – These were patented by Bosch in 1930 and at first it was as simple as having a headlight attached to the front bumper angled so that it was shining on the ground right in front of the vehicle.

Turn Signal Lights – These first appeared as early as 1907 and the modern flashing turn signal was patented in 1938. Shortly after this, automakers began making these standard on cars.

Brake Lights – The first brake lamps appeared around 1905. Since most early cars didn’t have them drivers would often use hand signals to communicate when they were turning. This posed many challenges (especially at night) and by 1928 11 states had passed legislation requiring cars to be built with brake lights.