First, to everyone who clicked because they glanced at the headline quickly and thought it had something to do with Foghat, my apologies. It’s got nothing to do with that, but instead is about something far more important: the fog lamp switch on a Toyota Hiace, the design of which may be the best foglamp switch design I’ve ever seen.
I saw this switch on Honda Accord Aerodeck owner Toni’s new Toyota Hiace, which paid my cars a visit over the weekend. While this van is a triumph of packaging and full of great details, this incredibly minor detail is what stuck with me.
This is partially because I’ve always felt the conventional intergalactic icon for foglights, three parallel downward-angled lines bisected by a squiggly line and next to a sideways bowl, isn’t exactly the most intuitive.
But the one on this Hiace, it’s very clever. The switch has two positions, and in addition to the expected sideways-jellyfish-leaping-out-of-the-water icon, it also includes these symbols:
At first, they may seem as incomprehensible as the normal icon, but after a moment you recognise what’s going on there: the upper trapezoids are the normal headlamp shapes, and the two circles are the foglamps.
This switch’s positions shows both how to turn on the foglamps and that the foglamps are an either/or option, and you won’t be running both headlamps and foglamps, as is sometimes the case.
Sure, in this case the foglamps aren’t round as the icon shows (see below; on the Hiace they’re low and rectangular, though my Pao does sport big round ones), but that does feel more like foglamps, and the shaped ones feel more like integrated headlamps, intuitively.
It’s a very clever bit of iconography, and one I’d not encountered before. I think it could make sense for almost all of automotive lighting, really, schematically showing just what lights get illuminated with what switch.
There. Now you know something about Toyota Hiace fog lamp switches. Today was worthwhile.