Do Brighter Headlights Help Prevent Car Accidents?


It is easier to avoid a car accident when you have effective, safe headlights, as many collisions happen at night. Bright headlights can help make travels safer at night. However, headlights can also cause accidents when they are used improperly. 

Many headlights are not ranked among the best for nighttime driving. That means some people are not seeing as well as they could while driving at night. A recent emphasis on improving headlights and driving safety is helping to convince car manufacturers to up their game. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates vehicles based on road safety. It recently updated its ratings system to place greater emphasis on improving headlights.

The IIHS studied more than 44,000 police-reported car accidents to learn how well headlights enhanced safety. The results show that the worse the headlights, the more likely a crash could occur. The IIHS study discovered vehicles that are equipped with headlights with a good rating greatly outperform those with a poor rating. Even only marginally acceptable headlights increase safety. 

According to the IIHS, cars that have good headlights experience 19 percent fewer crashes per mile traveled than vehicles with poor headlights. They also have 29 percent fewer injury accidents.

Vehicles that are equipped with headlights that the IIHS considers to be acceptable have 15 percent fewer crashes per mile than vehicles that are equipped with poor headlights. Vehicles with only marginal headlights had 10 percent fewer crashes per mile than vehicles equipped with poor headlights. 

The Right Bulb

Halogen lights are no longer on the forefront. Modern LED and HID lights are more effective at illuminating the road without blinding oncoming drivers. Both types are more efficient than halogen lights. LED lights are more efficient than HID lights, according to the IIHS. About 29 percent of current production vehicles earn IIHS top marks for their headlights because more vehicles are built using LED and HID headlights. This will help reduce the potential of a nighttime car accident. 

Many people think that bright headlights are automatically better headlights, but that is untrue. The headlights cannot blind oncoming drivers. Overly bright headlights can make it impossible for some oncoming drivers to see. If an oncoming driver has frost, water, or a dirty windshield, bright headlights could cause a blinding glare. Overly bright headlights can blind drivers. However, you can control light intensity and brightness. 

Angled and Self-Dimming Headlights Safely Illuminate Roadways

Many drivers do not understand that headlights need to be positioned properly to work their best. Headlights are not rigid items that you simply bolt into place. Headlights always have adjusting screws or similar mechanisms that enable the owner to adjust the angle. You can control whether the light shines straight ahead, high, low, or more to one side or the other. 

It is important to angle the headlights lower than the windshield of the oncoming vehicle to prevent glare. It also helps prevent blinding an oncoming driver with overly bright lights. When your eyes are adjusted to driving at night, bright lights are especially troublesome. 

Overly bright headlights could make it impossible to see. If you are driving on a roadway with a lot of hills and turns, overly bright headlights on another vehicle could cause you to go in the wrong direction and get into an accident. 

Many auto manufacturers now put self-dimming headlights in their vehicles. They can detect the light of oncoming headlights and can dim without the driver’s input. Self-dimming headlights are very helpful while driving at night. 

Curve-Adaptive Headlights Also Enhance Safety

Curve-adaptive headlights are among the newer innovations. They help stop the blinding effects of headlights at night when driving on a curve or a turn in the road. They also help illuminate where the driver intends to go.

Curve-adaptive headlights will turn slightly as you move the steering wheel. That helps keep the lights aimed at the roadway in front of you. It also helps prevent blinding oncoming drivers.

Kensington Car Accident Lawyers at Wiggins Law, LLC Can Help You If You Were Injured in a Nighttime Accident

Having safe headlights is important, but some drivers do not take the necessary measures to prevent an accident. If you have been injured in a collision, our experienced Kensington car accident lawyers at Wiggins Law, LLC can help. Contact us online or call us at 267-225-0770 to schedule a free consultation. Located in Northeast Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout the Philadelphia area, including Kensington, Tacony, Torresdale, Mayfair, Port Richmond, Allegheny, and Olney, Pennsylvania.