Orange Lights on Trucks: Why do some trucks have to have clearance lights?

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If you are anything like me, and have wondered what those Orange Lights are that you see in the Ford Raptor grill, or on trucks like the Ram 2500 or F-250 and above are, you are in the right place!

It turns out, they aren’ there for show, and are there because by law they have to be!

This Ford Truck Has Clearance Lights On The Top Of The Cab [Image courtesy of Ford]

So tell me why they are there already!

Those lights are there by law for any vehicles that are over 80″ in width, and also for vehicles that are over a specific height as well (I’m not able to find that exact info). You can read the exact info on the eCFR’s website here.

The basic idea behind this is for other vehicles on the road though! It is meant to warn oncoming traffic to the fact that there is a wider vehicle on it’s way in the other lane, and gives the oncoming traffic the chance to move farther away from the oncoming lane.

Because most vehicles that have these lights tend to be work trucks, these lights have become synonymous to trucks you expect to be on their way to a construction site. They also don’t tend to look all that awesome.

The Ford Raptor Makes Clearance Lights Cool

Ford Raptor Clearance Lights
[Image courtesy of Ford]

Ahh so the Ford Raptor isn’t a construction vehicle, and it is also based off the F-150 that doesn’t have these clearance lights right?

Well, the reason the Raptor needs these lights is due to the width (not height) of the truck.

When Ford widened the Raptor to allow for the Fox Shocks, and aggressive stance it pushed it over that 80″ width rule, meaning they had to have clearance lights.

However because the Raptor isn’t too tall, but just too wide, it was able to locate the lights elsewhere other than the roof.

They also decided, why not integrate the lights into the overall look of the vehicle and make it awesome, and that they did. They added it to the grill, and made it so you knew a Raptor was a Raptor, even at night.

Can I add clearance lights to my truck?

Yes, of course you can add these lights to your truck. Many people now days are trying to bring the Raptor look to their truck by buying aftermarket grills, however you can also add them to the roof of your truck if you like that look as well. If you are looking to buy some aftermarket clearance lights, we really like these ones right here.

Personally, I would buy the Ford Super Duty Tremor and add a Raptor style grill.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do clearance lights have to be amber?

All clearance lights in the USA have to be an amber color. The key to safety is consistency, so that anyone can see a light out of the corner of their eye and know exactly what they are looking for.

What is the difference between marker lights and clearance lights?

Marker lights point out the corners of a vehicle, while clearance lights point out points of the vehicle that may hit bridges, buildings and more. They are very close to the same thing, and many of them are actually the same light, however they are meant for different purposes.

How many lights are required on a truck that needs them?

You should always have at least 5 clearance lights on the top of your vehicle. However you should always verify this information with your local state laws.


What we have learned in this article, is that these lights are there by law due to either width, or height of a vehicle. We have also learned that you can add them to your vehicle, to make it just as awesome as the Raptor (well maybe).