CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

A final solution to headlight glare?

Hi folks,
I don’t post stories I have myself written very often, but headlight glare is a recurring topic here in the CTC. Over the past seven years, I’ve been following the IIHS headlight testing and rating topic closely. For 2021, the group’s hard work is finally paying off. Automakers are discontinuing headlights that create excessive glare.


You can learn more in the story itself if interested. The quick summary is that IIHS won’t tag a model with the Top Safety Pick Plus award anymore if ANY trim the model can come with will have headlights with excessive glare. So automakers are dropping the headlights on the trims that had the glare and just using the proper ones. There is a long list of models as examples. Including a popular Volvo. Cheers! https://www.torquenews.com/1083/say-goodbye-headlight-glare-oncoming-traffic-here-s-who-finally-solved-problem

8 Likes

I am looking forward to not getting my retinas roasted by oncoming traffic!

4 Likes

Don’t look too far forward. There’s still obnoxious aftermarket stuff.

5 Likes

Right on!

I noticed an Audi A7 was among the list of “offender”

Audi is considered a luxury auto maker, so they should be especially ashamed of themselves, in my opinion

2 Likes

Thank you, GorehamJ, for your efforts and info!

3 Likes

As a non engineer, I’m not sure I understand how they can illuminate the road but not cause glare? Are they not properly aimed? Is it the brightness, and if so how can it still illuminate the road just as well? The biggest thing for me seems to be vehicles with headlights mounted higher such as in trucks. After experiencing LEDs, I really don’t want to go back to standard headlights.

1 Like

I find it confusing too, but fascinating. IIHS actually recruited members of the public to be part of the evaluation team that set their standards. Check out this 2014 story from back when they established the standards. The older I get the more difficulty I have seeing at night, and glare bugs me. I’m excited that some agency finally found a way to make the automakers take notice.

2 Likes

I feel the same way . . .

I haven’t had any accidents driving at night . . . but it’s a little out of my comfort zone, in large part to the glare from oncoming headlights

3 Likes

I have written before. All my life I have has excellent night-vision, seeing things that others don’t. So, I don’t think those cars listed as poor have a major effect. But, one out of 50 cars around here have horrible blue lights, and I have just enough cataract formation that adds.
Do these drivers with the blue lights really want me to be driving blind as I approach them on those narrow curvy rural roads? I guess they REALLY want to be able to see me coming!

1 Like

You are fortunate :smiley:

Not all of us are :frowning_face:

2 Likes

Do you also see a halo around street lights? If so, it might be the beginning of cataracts. You might want to get that checked. Just because you have them, if you do, is no reason to get overly concerned.

My ophthalmologist told me about my cataracts when I was in my early to mid 50s, and said I probably would need replacement lenses by my mid 60s. It seems that cataract growth slowed dramatically. My night vision hasn’t changed much in the last 10 to 15 years.

2 Likes

I think he/she/it already said they had the beginning stages of cataracts as most of us do. Gets worse and worse until ya pluck the lenses off.

+1
My cataracts set in at a distressingly early age, and I had one of them surgically corrected when I was in my '50s. The other one was corrected a few years later, but until I had them surgically corrected, oncoming headlights were like a laser going into my eye. Post-surgery, oncoming headlights are not a significant problem, and simply looking at the right shoulder temporarily is all that is needed.

Yep, when it was still experimental maybe 30 years ago, one of the painters at work was having a terrible issue with his eyes. Got them both taken care of at the same time and he just couldn’t believe what a difference it made. It was a risk then but he said what did he have to lose? Life changing.

1 badad eye, god eye living with cataracts, 5 to 10% chance of blindness. Until it gets too bad my great eye doc says wait. Do not like night driving and cannot play golf alone, I need a spotter to tell me where the golf ball ended up.

We can only hope . I can say I hate halogen projector headlights. They are very mediocre lighting up the road . Hate the hard cutoff of the light pattern . Have them on my durango . It is really too complex a system just to have headlights. I’ll take the old time quad reflector headlight setup .

2 Likes

Are you sure that is halogen and not HID? That’s the way HID are but great light.

Positive , I have a lower end Durango (SXT) and they have halogen . The GT’s and SXT’s use halogen and the more expensive lines like RT and SRT 's use HID . Dont know if that has changed for 2021 as they have revamped the front end and the headlight setup. I know there is a lot of people that were bitching about it so maybe they changed it .

Light source type and pattern are two separate things.
HID, LED, and halogen can all have the sharp cutoff pattern that’s popular with modern cars.
The sharp cutoff works well if the lights are properly aimed, and on flat ground.
Vehicles coming over hills can present abrupt changes in brightness to oncoming cars.

My Tucson came with halogen, with the sharp cutoff.
I replaced with LED that retain the same pattern.

2 Likes

I think the issue is not the aiming but the focus and the concentricity of the beam that the headlights throw. If you take a laser as one extreme, all of the light goes to one point. As the other extreme, take a regular 100W light bulb. The light goes in all directions (except down towards the base.) The other part of the equation is the height above the road. To illuminate a given distance out (say 200 feet,) the headlight that is lower to the ground will have to be at a shallower angle and will cast more ‘stray’ light at oncoming drivers.

I’m guessing the key is to have lights that are placed higher up (shouldn’t be an issue with most SUVs,) so they throw light downwards at more of an acute angle, as well as better focused so less light gets thrown straight ahead, towards oncoming traffic. As people have mentioned, having too sharp of a cutoff is annoying for drivers, too.

Another variable is brightness. In some ways, having lights that are too bright is counter productive. You can see the areas they illuminate really well, but there is a much greater contrast between the illuminated and non-illuminated areas making it difficult for your eye to see objects in the darker areas. Having lights in the Goldilocks zone helps.

2 Likes