Blue lights

Have you noticed that there seem to be a lot less of those blue headlamps? 

Personally I would be glad if they would go away.

I’ve seen blue,purple, and even green. Here in Virginia I know you can get a ticket for anything other than yellow or white. I have also heard that any color over or under about 4300-5000K temp. you actually lose usable light and decrease visual acuity. And besides I think that are just plain annoying, and distracting.

There are basically two types of blue headlamps; those with tint and HID lamps.

HID lamps, High Intensity Discharge, operate on a different principle than traditional lamps. They discharge a high voltage across two electrodes, the arc creating the light, rather than heating a filament like traditional lamps. The result is a different spectral curve, one more intense at the lower frequencies (the blue end of the visual spectrum). These lamps can produce more light, and will tend to have a relatively blue visual effect.

The other “blue lamps”, the ones that simply add a filter to block some of the higher frequency light making the effect “blue”, reduce the total amount of light that would otherwise be emitted. Kids get those to make the car look like It has HID lamps, but they’re just a gimmick.

There was a push to outlaw HID lamps because they can blind oncoming drivers. I don’t know if that actually happened. Cars now are going to LED lamps anyway, so it may be a moot point.

You’ll have to pry my HIDs from my cold dead hands to get them. They are bright white, not blue, and have superior illumination of things like people and deer at night. Amazing difference at night.

The blue ones I think are the novelty lights used by the folks driving hopped up ricers with the loud mufflers. With the economy the way it has been, many of these folks may have left the building for other opportunities, or else they are growing up.

It’s all about how the lights are aimed, the ones that most people complain about are the aftermarket jobs with no attempt to get them aimed at the road. They are pointing more to the oncoming lane or right into the rear-view mirror of the car ahead.Most of these fads simply die out although there is still an example now and then (Teal Civic hatchback with Red wheels for example) I’m all for better lighting but it has to be set up and used correctly.

I drove by a car that had the new HID lights in both the low and high-beam on a Honda Accord. It was about 4pm (sun was setting) and the driver had the high-beams on. They were extremely bright. Far Far far brighter then any other vehicles lights. I flicked my lights…but they were ignored. As the driver drove past I looked in…it was a woman about 80+. If she’s so blind that she needs that much light to drive…she should turn in her drivers license. She’s a danger to everyone on the road with her.

Some folks do some scary stuff when they drive at an older age than they really should, a co-worker was riding with an older friend to go to lunch, at the point where the state highway merges with the Interstate (You can go to the left for northbound or to the right for southbound) she went right up to the split in the road and couldn’t figure out what to do next. A conversation with the older friend’s children happened later that day. She died about a year after this all took place.

I had 2 options, I am not sure if they are blue but the Silver star at 65 bucks a pair with a 200 hour rating, or regular el cheapo for 1000 hour rating made it a no brainer for me as when the car runs so do the headlights.

Most OEM HID’s come equipped with 4.3 (white w/ slight yellow)- 6K (white w/ slight blue) color temp. bulbs. This being said HID bulbs can be bought with anything from 3K (yellow) to about 12K (purple). So that way some people will always have the option of annoying others. In addition the lens itself will cause color changes at the very edges of the beam pattern.

I think the people who got on the blue halogen bandwagon got back off when they found out the short lifetime of most.

The D.O.T. is very specific about the acceptable color temp for over the road vehicles. As others here have said, the real problem is aftermarket HID installations.

Halogen lamps are yet another permutation. They’re simply an incandescent lamp with a different inert gas that allows the filament to burn hotter (hence the shorter lifespan), encapsulated in a fused quartz bulb (hence the “quartz” in the “quartz-halogen” name). Quartz halogen bulbs produce more light at the expense of lifespan. I personally like them, but it’s a matter of priorities, sometimes driven by driving environment. I live in NH, where the days get short in the winter, and commuted 31 miles each way. I spent a great deal of time driving at night. It was well worth it to me to spend the extra for the best lamps I could put in.

I also have to comment on the old people driving mentions. My last year of working, my cataracts got really bad, and I was one of those old people driving blind. I added driving lights to help, but on dark rainy nights I really was having a hard time seeing. But I had no choice. When I finally had my surgery, I suddenly realized how blind I had truly gotten. Night blindness due to cataracts is a very, very common problem with old people. But many don’t realize how much vision they’ve lost. I didn’t. The truly sad part is that since cataract surgery is expensive (it IS major surgery), many insurance carriers won’t cover it until it becomes absolutely necessary for other medical reasons. Until then, it’s considered “elective”. I’m truly blessed that I had good insurance. I truly feel for the millions that are currently losing theirs right now.

As others here have said, the real problem is aftermarket HID installations.

Especially the real “Einsteins” that just put those cheapo HID kits from China and such into regular Halogen reflector housings instead of the projectors they are intended for.

As with many things, it is not as easy as it would seem. When you see standard lamps, you see things under common lamps you will not see the same thing as you might see in a school gym.

Some lamps tend to look yellow, or blue. Yet it is also possible that you may see a different light than I would due to our personal eye condition.

The one thing many fail to consider is that while under one kind of light you eyes may see a green different color than I might, just due to the the different color.

What woks best for you may be poor for me.

I would suggest that is could be a good idea to try out any car and see how it works for YOU in your car.

Light color is a function of its frequency spectrum HID lamps can present a blue halo around the edges at certain angles because they’re richer in the lower frequencies and the edges of the lens can act like a prism, separating out the low frequencies and presenting that blue halo. Different frequencies refract differently when sent at an angle through a given media.

We might see the light differently, and some like a good friend of mine are color blind, but the light source has the frequency that it has, no matter how we see it.

My cataracts were acting like a yellow lens. Things that were light blue appeared to me to be green. After my first eye was operated on, I could clearly see different colors with my left eye than with my right eye. Blue was blue with my left eye, green with my right eye. White was white with my left eye, yellowed with my right eye. I was totally unprepared for this, and it flipped me out. Once both eyes were done, the colors I saw were correct. And I then began to see things that needed work in my house that I never realized.

Keith, you posted on my private board that frequency and wavelength are inversely related. Shorter wavelengths are higher frequencies. You are right, my friend. I blew that one. Shame on me. Man, I guess retirement didn’t come a moment too early!

Nor me either.

You know you’re getting old when you know you’re getting old… :slight_smile: