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Why Were Cars in France Required to Use Yellow Headlamps?

Posted November 01, 2022 5:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: citroen france Peugeot

From its inception more than 130 years ago, France's automotive industry has stood apart from all others. Sometimes it set precedents that all others followed, like establishing the front-engine/transmission/rear-wheel-drive layout circa 1892. Other times, it stood alone with unique requirements that no other country with an automotive industry has adopted. France's vehicular use of selective yellow forward lighting between 1937 and 1992 was a key example of the latter, and the reason for it might seem as murky as the darkness it was designed to penetrate.

In the first couple decades of global automotive production, forward-facing road illumination was largely the same around the world: kerosene-fueled oil lamps (more useful as signals to others than actually lighting the path of travel) were followed by those lit using acetylene gas, and both were ultimately replaced by electric-powered light bulbs. As headlamps grew more powerful, regulations were introduced that mandated how much light could be thrown and where in an attempt to limit glare for oncoming traffic.

When and why did France change its lighting law?

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#1

Re: Why Were Cars in France Required to Use Yellow Headlamps?

11/01/2022 3:58 PM

I’m seeing more and more colors. Some are the blue lights, last night, I saw a car with the yellow head lights.

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Re: Why Were Cars in France Required to Use Yellow Headlamps?

11/03/2022 3:01 PM

Slow down and you won't see so many blue lights. The yellow headlights probably have plastic covers that cooked in the sun for too long...

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Re: Why Were Cars in France Required to Use Yellow Headlamps?

11/03/2022 3:48 PM

Lol… I’ll try.

anyways, those yellow lights were very bright, I doubt those cover oxidized.

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Re: Why Were Cars in France Required to Use Yellow Headlamps?

11/03/2022 6:02 PM
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Re: Why Were Cars in France Required to Use Yellow Headlamps?

11/03/2022 7:19 PM

I recall in the early 90’s the push to develop/invent White LEDs where it really would revolutionize the area of lighting… and low and behold…

And now their everywhere… such as Peterbilts.

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#6

Re: Why Were Cars in France Required to Use Yellow Headlamps?

11/04/2022 10:15 PM

Yellow "fog lights" were fairly common in the San Francisco area--mounted low on the front of the car. They could penetrate much further in the common fog near the Golden Gate, and had much less glare than standard headlights. This color in the monochromatic yellow from Low Pressure Sodium lights was used for decades on the Golden Gate Bridge.

JMM

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Re: Why Were Cars in France Required to Use Yellow Headlamps?

11/06/2022 9:45 AM

I told a friend that wearing yellow tinted glasses was the same as yellow fog lights on the car for driving in fog.

He disagreed vehemently and never could understand how the yellow light from fog lights was created.

I used to have set of sunglasses with a yellow tint,mixed with some other tints,that were fantastic in bad weather.They were on a grab table for $2 so I picked them up,not expecting much.

I lost them and have not been able to find any other type that worked as well.

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Re: Why Were Cars in France Required to Use Yellow Headlamps?

11/06/2022 10:06 AM

There were yellow tinted sunglasses, that helped reduce glare as well as enhanced clarity.

sport shooters have them. And they do help.

also, when I had a design and fabrication company, the shop lights were sodium based.

did a lot of high polished stainless for the food and dairy. When I first bought that building, the first few project, that were sent out, I had to send a crew, to take the weld discoloration off the process equipment we design.

the sodium lights in the shop basically made the weld color disappear. Until I could get replacement lights, we had to take the fabricated equipment outside for a visual inspection before loading them on a truck.

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