We aim for the best and brightest headlights on the market when shopping. It is understandable, as very few want to drive their car at night with a dim light. Not having enough visibility is also a risky thing. So, in a usual sense, it sounds like the brighter, the better. Or is it?
Have you ever had the experience of getting blinded by another vehicle for a few seconds at night? It is not even rare. There are so many accidents happening for this reason. So, who is the culprit behind this, and how to solve the issue? Let’s talk about that in this article.
This article is not meant to belittle people who love bright headlights. Neither to tell you to avoid LED lights. It is solely intended to display the negative-sides of having a too-bright headlight on your vehicle.
Is It Illegal to Have Overly High Brightness?
So far, almost no state in the USA has any limitation on the brightness of the headlights. More and more people are getting weary of this. There has been an online petition where 13,700 people have signed to show their concern and ban dazzling headlights.
Many often complain about having one of the scariest experiences in their life by almost crashing onto another vehicle because of getting dazzled. Some people also have stopped driving at night to avoid such scenarios.
The issue is that most states don’t have the methods to carry out such a law that limits the headlight brightness. They cannot go around with any machine to capture the lumen rating (the unit of brightness from a source) of people’s headlights.
According to the Washington State Patrol, their vehicle owners must not use a different bulb type on a housing designed for a specific one. So, if a vehicle comes with halogen headlights, it must stick with halogen bulbs.
The problem is that the law agencies cannot go around and search everyone’s cars, as the Constitution protects the civilians from it.
Chances of Accidents with Too-Bright Headlights
There are many instances when a vehicle with glaring headlights came in front of my vehicle and dazzled me for a moment. It may not pose as much risk to the driver of that vehicle as myself since I may crash my car on the side of the road.
Sudden flashing in your eyes takes some seconds to recover. Within that time, anything from minor issues to big accidents can happen. But the problem isn’t only limited to that.
Many with glaucoma, other eye problems, or sensitive eyes have to drive to their work. For such people to get blinded by the intense light can also cause irreversible damage to their optic nerves. They may not even be able to reach their destination on that trip without any risk.
Are LED Headlight Bulbs the Sole Culprit Here?
When it comes to the brightest lights, we immediately point at LED bulbs. It is true that they can generate bright lights so higher than halogen lights. However, there is a catch here. Many automotive enthusiasts and experts refuse to believe that high brightness is the problem.
They put interesting statements that the actual issues are the beam patterns and focus angles of the headlights. I also think so to an extent. When I used and reviewed many headlights and bulbs, I noticed that even intensely bright ones often don’t glare because of their controlled beam pattern and downward focus.
Many vehicle owners don’t know or bother to change their headlight aim. But it is necessary, depending on the vehicle type. A car and a truck cannot have the same focus angle, or they can blind others. Also, putting the blame only on LED and not HID is not wise.
What About the Future?
What will happen in the future is not easy to predict right now. Many speculate that even headlights won’t exist at some point with the rise of AI-driven vehicles. But if there are still headlights to be found at that point, they won’t (or shouldn’t) be too bright. Alternatively, their beams should be focused and controlled.
My final verdict is that the problem here is a combination of high brightness and an uncontrolled beam pattern. While the too-bright headlights are the ones blinding others, they can be prevented by focusing their beam down on the road. But it is a pity that most do not do it.
If it continues and more and more accidents keep happening like this, then the laws may have no other choice than to ban highly bright headlight bulbs. Yes, it is not easy to carry out this rule right now, but it is only a matter of time. From how I see it, too-bright headlights are going extinct slowly but surely.