Beyond the electric tour vehicles, Jurassic Park operates a number of gas-powered jeeps.

Two scenes in particular...

rescuing Dr. Malcolm from the T-Rex and Nedry attempting his escape

...show jeeps with bright, strong amber tail lights, instead of the expected red. As shown in the picture below, the normal red running lights aren't even on - they should be on whenever the headlights are.

A little poking around on the internet looking at pictures indicates they were mounted above the normal tail lights, so the expected lights are still present, but not nearly as bright as the ambers.

Entering the Park - Headlights, Bright Ambers, No Reds

They're clearly not directional signals, because they're strongly and continuously lit. It's particularly clear in the night scenes...

like fleeing from the T-Rex.

They appear to be built from fog lamp components, but fog lights are low and have a wide beam angled toward the ground, which reduces glare and helps see the road. Normal headlights reflect off the water droplets and back into the driver's eyes, impairing visibility instead of improving it. There is no functional reason for high-mounted, rear-facing fog lamps - they'd actually be detrimental, not beneficial.

The question is what were the extra lights for? Why were they there?

In-universe answers are favored over out-of-universe answers, but either way I'm looking for word-of-god type answers. Opinions and suppositions, no matter how logical, are not valid answers.

  • @Paulie_D That's a good shot, though I'm not sure it's actually from the film... It has a Texas license plate! It's probably somebody's recreation. Still worth having though. Thanks!
    – T.J.L.
    Apr 9, 2018 at 15:52
  • @Paulie_D That was my first thought, too, but in the film they're very bright and both solidly illuminated at all times. Let me add a reference to that in the answer, though.
    – T.J.L.
    Apr 9, 2018 at 15:56
  • 2
    ...but I've found references to "rear fog lights" which doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
    – Paulie_D
    Apr 9, 2018 at 16:19
  • 1
    Wait—there's a T-Rex!? Apr 10, 2018 at 0:08
  • 1
    To the folks voting to close as "opinion-based", while there may be no readily available answer (I've looked, which is why I put the question here to begin with), somebody attached to the film's production ordered the vehicles modified for a reason. It may just be "because they thought it'd look cool" or "to make them stand out". That would be the somebody's opinion, but an answer that revealed who made that decision would not be an opinion in and of itself.
    – T.J.L.
    Apr 11, 2018 at 13:01

1 Answer 1


Why did the Jurassic Park gas-powered jeeps have amber tail lights?

They're safety/hazard lights, and are used for two reasons:

  1. The inclement weather often experienced on the island.
  2. The Jeeps weren't bound to tracks like other vehicles were.

There is no functional reason for high-mounted, rear-facing fog lamps.

Since these vehicles are driven off-road on an island with high growing vegetation, it would make sense to have lights mounted higher than lower; otherwise, their visibility could be obstructed by plants - an issue not present with conventional driving on a paved road.


From the Wiki entry of Isla Nublar:

There has been speculation that Michael Crichton loosely based Isla Nublar on Isla del Coco or Cocos Island in the eastern Pacific. Cocos Island is a Costa Rican National Park 340 miles off the west coast of Costa Rica. Like Isla Nublar, which means "Clouded Island", Cocos Island receives especially high rainfall year-round and is the only island in the eastern Pacific that features cloud forests.

From this, it would make sense to install additional safety lights on any vehicle that's not bound to a track, since there's constantly foggy weather.

Off-road vs. on-track

enter image description here Left - off-road vehicle with additional safety lights; Right - on-track vehicle w.o. additional lighting.

Additional reasoning:

  • It could be argued that, if these lights were anything other than [automated] safety/weather lights, then, why would Dennis Nedry turn them on when trying to sneak out of JP?

  • Jurassic Park Motor Pool classifies them as fog lights. If it barks, smells and looks like a dog, chances are, it's a dog.

  • Are all US fog-lights amber? [I'm UK, our fog-lights are white front, red rear]
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 9, 2018 at 17:48
  • In fog, headlights reflect off the water droplets and back into the driver's eyes, impairing visibility. Fog lights are low and have a wide beam angled toward the ground, which reduces glare and helps see the road. While the reference makes it clear what off-the-shelf parts were used, there is little functional reason for high-mounted, rear-facing fog lamps. This answers "what", but the question is "why".
    – T.J.L.
    Apr 9, 2018 at 17:49
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    @Charles The lights were added for the film. They're neither standard nor optional equipment from Jeep.
    – T.J.L.
    Apr 9, 2018 at 17:57
  • 3
    The 'why' will always be 'because someone thought they made it look cool'. To me, amber lights indicate 'hazard' too, as that's their predominant use over here.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 9, 2018 at 17:57
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    The image raises the question as to why there are grills protecting the automated vehicle tail lights, but not the gas-powered jeeps...
    – Mikey
    May 7, 2019 at 18:10

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