Are Headlights Getting Brighter?

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Andrew Koole
Updated on Apr 27, 2022 · 3 min read
Driving at night on the highway, a
heads toward you on the opposite side, piercing your eyes with its
high beams
. You flash yours on and off as if to say, "I politely ask that you stop blinding me," and the driver complies. But the stinging in your cornea remains.
Is it just me, or are headlights getting brighter? you ask yourself.
It’s not just you. They are.
Headlights really are getting brighter | Twenty20

Why headlights are so intense these days

Anyone who’s changed a lightbulb in the last two decades knows about LED light bulbs. Billed as the energy-efficient, eco-friendly, cool cousin of the halogen and incandescent, LED bulbs have slowly been replacing their lower-tech rivals since 1994, according to
Shine Retrofits
Despite their post-millennial beginnings, the
New York Times
says the Light Emitting Diodes (LED) didn’t become a popular option for headlights until the 2010s.
Pair their intensity with the increased popularity of high-sitting SUVs and pickups, and you can clearly see the source of the headlight glare problem under discussion.

A quick history headlight brightness

The New York Times report says headlights have slowly become stronger since the ‘80s, when industry standards transitioned from "sealed-beam" lights to halogens. Starting in the late ‘90s, high-intensity discharge lights illuminated our paths until the snazzy LED began pushing them out in 2008.
Besides the apparent "cool" factor, automakers were pressured to adopt the new technology to improve their safety scores. The NY Times says that since the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) began rating in headlight systems in 2016, "good" scores have increased from only one winner that year (the Toyota Prius V) to more than 80 this year.
Unfortunately, the scores only indicate the safety of the drivers in the winning vehicles, not the poor souls on the road around them.

Solutions to the night-driving danger

The auto industry has begun to address high beam aggression. In the U.S., high-beam assist technology, which automatically cuts the high-powered light when it senses oncoming traffic, is already making inroads among automakers.
Europe has taken it one step further by introducing adaptive driving beams. Instead of simply turning lights off and on, the Times report says these "very James Bond-like" sensors redirect headlight beams away from the eyes of neighboring drivers. The new tech still needs to be approved by the IIHS before it can legally be used on American roads.
While you wait for the latest anti-glare technology to make it into your vehicle, the best thing you can do is turn your gaze to the right side of the road and slow down. Avoid the temptation to retaliate with your brights. That will just make a bad situation worse.
Sometimes the worst can’t be avoided, and the poor judgment of an oncoming driver can cause you to crash your car. Determining liability in an accident like this can get tricky, especially if the oncoming driver is oblivious to their blunder and doesn’t stop.
In case you end up stuck without a liable party, it’s wise to add collision coverage to your insurance policy. Collision coverage kicks in if you crash into an object or another vehicle and liability can’t be put on anyone else.
If you’re shopping for collision coverage,
will generate competitive quotes from top providers in less than a minute. Jerry gathers your information from your past insurer, so you're not responsible for any long forms or phone calls. Basically, you get all of the savings and coverage, with none of the hassle.

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