Car headlights ‘too bright’ as drivers increasingly dazzled

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  • #179583 Reply

    The overwhelming majority (89%) of drivers say car headlights on UK roads are too bright, leaving them dazzled while driving, new research suggests.

    The RAC survey of 2,700 drivers found that the problem also appears to be getting worse with 63% of drivers who get dazzled saying it’s happening more often, with one-in-four (23%) claiming they’re now dazzled a lot more regularly.

    Furthermore, almost two-thirds (64%) think they risk causing other drivers to have collisions while two-in-three (67%) say they can’t tell if the headlights of oncoming cars are dipped or on full beam.

    RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “There are a number of factors that contribute to whether a headlight dazzles another driver or not, the most important being the angle of the headlights as you look at them.

    “If they’re not angled properly – or the driver in the oncoming car has forgotten to dip their headlights – there’s every chance you’re going to get blinded.

    “Modern LED headlight technology may also have a part to play as the human eye reacts to the so-called ‘blue light’ from LEDs differently to the ‘yellow light’ of conventional halogen headlights.

    “This presents a real irony: the brighter and better your vehicle’s headlights are, the clearer your night-time view of the road ahead is, often it seems at the expense of anyone coming towards you.”

    Three-in-10 (30%) of those aged 17-34 think most headlights are too bright, compared to just 19% of those aged 65 and over.

    Meanwhile, of those younger drivers who believe some, if not most, car headlights they see are too bright, 70% think the accident risk is increased – while for drivers aged 65-plus the proportion is 62%.

    The brightness of some car headlights even appears to be putting motorists off driving at night. Sixteen per cent of those who complain about the intensity of headlights say they avoid driving at night altogether, with women (22%) and those aged 65 and over (25%) much more likely to say they deliberately don’t drive after dark than men (9%).

    The RAC’s research also asked dazzled drivers to estimate how long it typically takes for them to be able to see clearly again. While most (65%) said it took between one and five seconds, one-in-10 (12%) said it took upwards of six seconds.

    Being unable to see for one second while driving at 60mph means a driver would travel around 13 metres (more than six car lengths), but being blinded for six seconds would see them covering an enormous 160 metres (the equivalent of 40 car lengths), which suggests headlight glare could be compromising safety on the roads.

    Almost a quarter of drivers (23%) blamed the LED headlights fitted to an increasing number of modern vehicles, and an almost identical proportion (22%) were not sure if any particular sort of headlight was to blame, while the remaining third (34%) could not distinguish between the different types of bulb anyway.

    However, nearly one-in-five (17%) said they felt the problems are caused by the angle of oncoming vehicles’ beams.

    The RAC’s research suggests that the increasing prevalence of vehicles that sit higher on the road, specifically SUVs, might also be exacerbating the problem for those in conventional cars that sit much lower, like hatchbacks, saloons and estates.

    Six-in-10 drivers (61%) of lower vehicles who said they suffered from glare blamed the headlights on taller vehicles, yet just 28% of drivers of taller vehicles blamed others in similar vehicles.

    Motorists’ complaints about the impact some headlights are having on their driving isn’t new, with the RAC first raising the topic in 2018.

    At the time, the RAC highlighted that the regulations that govern vehicle lighting, including headlights, are decided on at an international (United Nations) level, with input from UK Government.

    Nearly four years on, drivers remain overwhelmingly supportive of the matter being looked into with 82% saying they’d like something done to help reduce headlight glare.

    Dennis explained: “The full intensity of your headlights – especially if they’re not angled down correctly – can cause oncoming drivers to momentarily glance away from the road or even be blinded for a few seconds. In short, being dazzled isn’t just about discomfort, it also represents a significant road safety risk.

    “But while the apparent dazzling effect caused by headlights is a complicated one, it’s blindingly obvious just how many drivers want the issue looked into by the Government with a view to improving things for the future.

    “Despite the RAC first having flagged drivers’ concerns several years ago, we’re not aware anything at all has happened – which will no doubt be extremely disappointing to many drivers.”

    Official government data shows that since 2013, there has been an average of 293 accidents a year where dazzling headlights were a contributory factor. Of these, six were fatal accidents.

    The actual number may be higher given an investigation may not be able to determine whether or not a collision was directly or indirectly caused by the glare from another vehicle’s headlights.

    The only person who got all his work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe.
    Anything i post over three lines long please assume it is an article lol.

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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    You can turn your head slightly away from the on coming cars and still look forward and this really helps. I used to drive at night a lot and still often do as there’s alot less traffic. Or the same as  with the sun you can use your hand to block the glare especially when it’s hitting off the wet ground. Also you can see cars coming because of the lights, when durin the day you might not. So i think all in all it makes little diffference.

    There’s always going to be accidents when certain perimeters are met and humans make errors and imo is one reason, once ai can drive better then we humans can, we will not be allowed to drive, for our own safety and that of others. That’s how they’ll spin it. Articles and studies like this only fuel that..

    #179588 Reply

    One of the first things I do with a new scheme car is use the adjusters to set the dipped beam on its lowest setting. The standard setting always looks too high to me. Sadly cannot do this with latest car – VW T-ROC – as the pitch of the lights is set “automatically” and cannot be changed. What criteria are used by the “automatically” engines. I have no idea. Still look too high but I have not been flashed yet.

    #179591 Reply

    It`s the idiots driving around with front fog lights on that gets my goat.

    #179598 Reply

    My DD has really bright headlights, we get flashed a fair bit. I mentioned this when it went in for its MOT but was told that the alignment is fine. The Mazda seems to have one source point of light and it is super bright. They’re great for driving with mind!!

    Mazda CX5 is my DD
    VW ID3 Max on order 5 Nov 21

    #179610 Reply

    There’s a young lady around here who has eye lashes on her head lights (seriously). Must be her own unique way of dealing with this problem 😂

    The only person who got all his work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe.
    Anything i post over three lines long please assume it is an article lol.

    #179664 Reply

    I love my AFS LED headlights, so much clearer than these insipid yellowish halogens. Love the way the change the beam to suit conditions too.

    woukd not have a car without them from now on, especially if you live outside a city as I do

    #179683 Reply

    Is that your way of trying to tell us you have lashes in your Volvo mate? Lol

    Seriously though im amazed when I see them , def still a few about 🤦🏻‍♂️😭🤣

    You would immediately disown anyone you knew who had a set! 🤣

    As for Led lights , I’ve always had a thing for led lights , whether it’s my house, torches or in cars

    when I got my first MB car around 7 years ago it had full LED lights and they really stood out as you would normally see Haolgen or Xenon , I did get flashed quite a bit , even by the cops a few times

    Fast forward to now and lots of cars have some type of LED system , when driving at night I find myself staring at oncoming cars LED lights 🤦🏻‍♂️ ( prob not the smartest move ) but my eyes just get attracted to them lol

    i can usually tell a car by it’s headlight pattern from a distance

    I still get the odd flash but I just flash back 🤣

    I think the pros outweigh the cons as you can see far better behind the wheel

    I think they look a million times better than the old systems and I’d never go back to halogens or xenon’s 👍🏻

    When life hands you melons...,
    Make melonade!

    #179692 Reply

    Winston it’s great your still getting flashed at, is it the same place every time 😂


    The only person who got all his work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe.
    Anything i post over three lines long please assume it is an article lol.

    #179711 Reply

    A younger me used to wonder why I was always dazzled by oncoming cars but then I realised it was because I was looking at them.
    Of course I was going to be dazzled.

    When driving at night, now, older me keeps my eyes on the road in front of me and I rarely am dazzled by anything that I would consider dangerous. In fact I cannot remember the last time. I’m excluding poorly maintained cars with headlights that are pointing in completely the wrong direction.

    Add to this that new technology such as HID and standard LED have a distinct line at their max distance and so glare is significantly reduced. Matrix LED are even better as they ‘blank’ areas as cars approach.

    Car lighting and visibility in general has always been important to me and even if I do not clean the whole car (it’s generally spotless, though), I always make sure that all lights and windows are clean.

    I am a popular port of call for friends & relatives who have faded headlights as I’m pretty good at completely refurbishing and UV protecting them.

    🏎 I will be remembered for nothing but had great fun doing it 🏎

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