By CED Communications
December 10, 2018
Would you believe that a significant number of vehicles on the road today are equipped with inadequate headlights? Two recent Automotive News articles bear some truly eye-opening statistics uncovered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a non-profit U.S. research group which has released several studies on new cars and trucks. During testing, institute engineers measure how far light is projected from both low beams and high beams as a vehicle drives straight and around curves, as well as how much resulting glare is created for oncoming vehicles.
Among the findings:
- 4 models out of a total 100 received a ‘good’ rating
- Just 14 of 37 midsize SUVs get ‘good’ or ‘acceptable’ headlight ratings
- 23 out of those 37 ranked ‘marginal’ or ‘poor’
- 40 models received a ‘poor’ ranking because of their headlights
- Just 15 models qualified for the 2018 Top Safety Pick Plus award
- A large percentage of headlights come off the factory line ‘poorly aimed’ – which causes more glare
The IIHS is still just scratching the surface at this point, with extensive testing on many more models planned in the future. Some manufacturers have already taken steps to make adjustments in order to earn a better headlight rating Ironically, the new LED lights are brighter and stronger than their predecessors – not to mention sleeker looking – but that doesn’t necessarily translate into better vision for drivers. The older halogen lights are reportedly better at minimizing glare, particularly with low beams.
As one of CED’s Senior Vehicular Engineers explains: “people don’t realize that the ability to see an object depends on the light reflected back to you, not just the strength or direction of the light. If a pedestrian is dressed in black 200 feet away, you may not see them. If the pedestrian is wearing white, your chances of seeing the pedestrian are increased. Low beam headlights, for years, have been aimed slightly down and to the right to minimize glare. Newer high intensity headlights have a vertical cut-out to further minimize glare to oncoming drivers. Current high tech low beam headlights are somewhat suspect in that they do not project light with any intensity above this cut out making it difficult to see objects, at distance, ahead. CED’s engineer indicated “I never drive around my neighborhood at night without the high beams on; the low beams do not provide sufficient lighting to see pedestrians walking on the side of the community streets.”
Almost half of the nation’s fatal traffic accidents occur at night. It’s worth noting that the list of vehicles ranked with sub-par ratings is diverse, including foreign and domestic, car and truck, luxury and non-luxury.
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