Have you noticed that many of the cars on the roads these days have REALLY bright headlights. I mean they are so bright they blind you as they pass by, especially on narrow roads. After doing some research, it appears that these really bright lights have many other drivers concerned too, especially older (50+) drivers. As I’m being blinded by these bright headlights, I question if they are even legal. Most of the time they are but sometimes they are not. The lights that look bright white with a blueish tinge are the new High Intensity Discharge lights (HID) and are finding their way on more and more car brands. They are much brighter than the halogen lights that are in most other cars. If these HID lights are not properly aligned, then they can aim right in your eyes and blind you. Besides the HID lights, car manufacturers are installing another type of extra bright headlight using LED technology. These headlights are also much brighter than the old-fashioned halogen lights but are perfectly legal. Both HID and LED headlights are going to be installed on more and more cars so the problem is only going to get worse.
Unfortunately, it’s also possible to install extra bright headlights that are not legal for street use. You can easily find these lights for sale on the Internet with the caution that they are only for “off-road” driving. But people ignore this and install them in their cars and trucks anyway. Why don’t the police give tickets to drivers using these illegal lights you ask? It’s really impossible for the police to tell what is legal and what is not without some sophisticated testing equipment so don’t count on them to weed out the “bad guys”.
Recently the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked for public comments on these extra bright lights. They were swamped by complaints! In fact the number of comments they received, mostly complaints, set a record. So there may be some hope in getting the standards governing headlights changed so these extra bright headlights are no longer used.
One thing that drivers can do to help is NOT always use your fog / driving lights when driving at night. These are the second set of lights that are mounted below the bumper, close to the road. Fog / driving lights are only to be used for driving in the fog or snow and not for every day use. By not using these extra lights you will be giving the other drivers a break.
Personally, I’d like to see these new extra bright headlights scaled back and not be so bright. I hope that enough people complain about them so the federal government realizes these headlights are creating safety issues by blinding other drivers. What do you think about these extra bright headlights?
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons / Flickr