AAA Reveals Shortcomings of Headlights

A new AAA test reveals significant and potential shortcomings in headlights while driving on roads that aren’t lit properly, particularly the rural roads found in America which makes up around 40 percent of miles traveled each year.


To evaluate the limitations and capabilities of headlights as well as learn any advantages of advanced headlight technology, a comparison was made by AAA between how LED (light emitting diode) and HID (halogen, high intensity discharge) headlights performed.


 Results of the AAA test suggest that more than 80 percent of automobiles that use the halogen headlights could fail to light up unlit roads safely, even while driving 40 mph or lower.


According to the manager of the research center of the Automotive Club of Southern California, Megan McKernan, this test revealed that many of the US vehicle headlights fall short on safety.


“By failing to properly light roadways at moderate speeds, a pedestrian or animal may not become visible to a driver until it’s too late to stop”, she says.


This test calculated the distances that today’s headlights light up non-reflective objects; both high and low beam settings.  The findings of this test along with Transportation Official and American Association of State Highway guidelines show that when driving on unlit roads, the headlights today do not light up the entire distance needed for drivers to see an obstacle or object in the road, react and be able to stop completely in time.


Although sight distances were improved by halogen headlights and high beam settings by 28 percent inside the facility where the test was done, when it comes to real-world situations and conditions, they still might only offer adequate light to come to a complete stop at a speed of 48 mph or lower. This leaves drivers at risk when traveling at a speed you would on a highway.


Along with testing how high and low-beam headlights perform, the impact that dirty or deteriorated headlights have on glare and light intensity was also tested by AAA. After around 5 years, the protective coat that is placed on the plastic of today’s lenses can begin to cloud and deteriorate.


This can reduce light output and increase light scatter that may often risk leaving a glare to other drivers. It was found by this test that when you restore the headlights, you can reduce glare and double light intensity by as much as 60 percent.


You can increase your visibility at night and reduce distracting glare by having annual maintenance to older automobiles.  Also, because of the findings of this AAA test, it is important to have an adequate personal auto insurance policy and a commercial auto insurance policy if applicable, in case of accidents due to poor lighting.