Most drivers think car headlights are too bright, study says

Almost a quarter of drivers claim they are regularly dazzled by oncoming car headlights, while nearly 90 per cent think some or most car headlights on the road are too bright.

That’s according to a new study from the RAC in the UK, which found that glare from headlights appears to be getting worse for drivers.

The study says that almost two thirds (63%) of motorists who get dazzled say it’s happening more often than a year or two ago, with one-in-four (23%) claiming they’re now dazzled a lot more regularly.

It adds that 64 per cent think headlights risk causing other drivers to have collisions while 67 per cent say they can’t tell if the headlights of oncoming cars are dipped or on full beam.

The RAC says that it’s younger rather than older drivers who are more likely to complain about the apparent brightness of headlights and the effect this has on their driving. Three-in-10 (30%) of those aged 17-34 think most are too bright, compared to just 19 per cent of those aged 65 and over.

Almost a quarter (23%) blamed the LED headlights fitted to an increasing number of modern vehicles, while 34 per cent said they can’t distinguish between the different types of bulb anyway.

However, 17 per cent said they felt the problems are caused by the angle of oncoming vehicles’ beams.

RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “There are a number of factors that contribute to whether a headlight dazzles another driver or not, the most important being the angle of the headlights as you look at them.

“If they’re not angled properly – or the driver in the oncoming car has forgotten to dip their headlights – there’s every chance you’re going to get blinded.

“Modern LED headlight technology may also have a part to play as the human eye reacts to the so-called ‘blue light’ from LEDs differently to the ‘yellow light’ of conventional halogen headlights.

“This presents a real irony: the brighter and better your vehicle’s headlights are, the clearer your night-time view of the road ahead is, often it seems at the expense of anyone coming towards you.

“The full intensity of your headlights – especially if they’re not angled down correctly – can cause oncoming drivers to momentarily glance away from the road or even be blinded for a few seconds.

“In short, being dazzled isn’t just about discomfort, it also represents a significant road safety risk.”

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