How Headlight Manufacturing Affects Road Safety for Drivers and Pedestrians
If you have become the owner of a newer midsize SUV or pickup, you may have realized that your headlights are not what you expected in a new vehicle. According to news released last month, safety experts spoke out against a large number of vehicles for having marginal or poorly-rated headlights, a critical safety issue that can lead to deadly auto accidents.
Headlights Protect Drivers and Pedestrians Alike
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), the highest percentage of pedestrian deaths occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. As NHTSA notes, “On average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every seven minutes in traffic accidents.” In addition, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) explained that the ability to see what’s ahead of you is vital to keeping pedestrians and bicyclists safe. However, as IIHS explains:
“…government standards for headlights, based on laboratory tests, allow huge variation in the amount of illumination that headlights provide in actual on-road driving. With about half of traffic deaths occurring either in the dark or dawn or dusk conditions, improved headlights have the potential to bring about substantial reductions in fatalities.”
That’s why IIHS recently released an updated report on headlight safety. While IIHS focused on 2017 vehicles, it’s a good warning sign for all drivers. Pay attention to your headlights, and if you are having trouble seeing at night, alert the manufacturer to determine what can be done to improve your headlights.
IIHS Evaluates Headlights for Safety and the Results Are Stunning
According to Automotive News, headlights do shine better, brighter, and farther than ever before. However, as noted in the article, IIHS doesn’t believe those features necessarily mean the headlights are good. IIHS has been testing headlights for four years and has concluded that just four vehicles tested in 2017 have “good” headlights. When it comes to luxury SUVs, half of them have headlights marked as marginal or poor. It gets worse for nonluxury SUVs, where 14 out of 19 vehicles have a marginal or poor headlight rating.
So, how did they get this rating? IIHS evaluated headlights during night hours to measure the amount of light illuminated on both low and high beams. They also tested the vehicles in different situations, comparing straight roads to roads with different curvatures. They also measured the amount of glare the headlights produced on oncoming vehicles. After a thorough study, IIHS reviewed all the data and released its final report on headlights which you can review to see if your vehicle is listed.
Knowledge of Headlight Laws Is Critical to Road Safety and Preventing Auto Accidents
Believe it or not, headlights have been around for well over 120 years, and yet when questioned, most drivers are not familiar with state headlight laws. The laws are in place for safety, and in Colorado, there are many situations when you must have your headlights on, such as:
- From sunset to sunrise or when you have difficulty seeing at least 1000 feet ahead of you
- During inclement weather, such as rain or snow
- On rural mountain roads or two-lane highways.
There are also rules on when to use low and high beams, and it’s always a good idea to review those laws as what you do can impact other drivers. All of Colorado’s headlight laws can be viewed on the DMV website.
So, when it comes to headlights, there are two things you should know. First, when buying a new or used car, don’t overlook your research on headlights as headlights keep you and others safe on the road. And second, review the Colorado headlight laws often to keep yourself and other drivers safe.