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Why Are Headlights So Bright?

Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC

As the first major automotive safety feature, headlights are undoubtedly important. Still, if you’re wondering why the headlights on today’s roadways are so bright, you’re not alone. In 2020, Ford actually recalled some F-150 trucks because the headlights were too bright. The reason why some headlights on the road seem to blind you is that modern headlights are made of 3 different materials – and because some people don’t use their headlight settings properly. Further, illegal after-market lights are extremely bright and can lead to dangerous conditions.

The Lights Are Brighter, Whiter, and Bluer (Halogens, LEDs, and HIDs)

The first motor vehicle headlights used flames or chemical reactions to provide illumination, and unsurprisingly, they were not very bright. Now, many vehicles use LEDs and high-intensity discharge (HID) lights. LEDs are technically brighter than halogens, and HIDs are brighter than LEDs. These days, more vehicles are equipped with LEDs or HIDs. This means the headlights in modern vehicles are, in fact, brighter than they were – even a few years ago. While a halogen bulb emits around 1300 lumens of light, an LED emits 1600 lumens, and an HID emits 3000. Additionally, both HIDs and LEDs alike put out whiter and bluer light than halogens, which emit a more yellowish light. Human eyes are especially sensitive to white and blue light, so some headlights seem brighter, even when they are not.

Although bright lights make it easier for us to see the roadway, problems may arise when multiple vehicles with bright lights are on the roadway at the same time. If one driver looks into another’s glaring lights, they will momentarily lose their ability to see and face serious crash risks.

High Beams and Alignment Problem

As you probably know, most motor vehicles are equipped with headlights, which you use any time you drive at night, and high beams, which you flip on when you are alone on a dark road. High beams are extremely bright and emit loads of light, so if you forget to turn your high beams off, you could be causing glare for another driver. Similarly, some SUVs have “off-road” light bars that cannot be used on regular roads.

You may have also noticed that some headlights seem to “bounce,” which creates the same effect as flashing your high beams at someone. This phenomenon occurs when auto manufacturers, mechanics, and vehicle owners fail to install light bulbs correctly. Without proper alignment, headlights will move around and create hazards on the roadway.

After-Market Lights

Feeling dazzled is a huge problem even with headlights that meet safety regulations, but some drivers install after-market lights on their vehicles. Usually intended for off-roading or other recreational activities, after-market bulbs are illegal in Oklahoma.

From Christmas lights to neon headlights, drivers are not allowed to add lights to their vehicles due to the risk of distracted driving.

What If Bright Lights and Glare Caused My Accident?

Both local law enforcement and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are aware of the dangers of glare on the roadway. If you get into an auto accident because of bright lights and glare, make sure to explain this fact to the responding officer. You should also contact an attorney who can help investigate on your behalf.

If the other driver was not using their high beams properly at the time of the accident or had after-market lights, they could be at least partially liable for your injuries and losses. In cases with misaligned headlights or improperly installed bulbs, the manufacturer or mechanic could even be at-fault.

Protect your best interests after an accident by calling Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC at (918) 347-6456 today. You can also use our online contact form to request a free consultation.

We look forward to helping you through this difficult time.

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