Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Head Lights, Theirs

I know that I’m past my vision prime but am I the only guy that is being blinded by head lights both on coming and in the rear view? I thought there was some not to exceed number of lumins or candle powers allowable in head lights? And what about those individuals who insist on driving around town with headlights and driving lights burning? Are they trying to recreate a scene from a Ridley Scott dis-topic Sci-Fi movie? What gives with the retina burning blue?

You might be dealing with an unusually large number of other drivers with mis-aimed headlights. Or, many of them might be driving trucks or SUVs with headlights that are mounted very high, thus causing more direct impact on your retinas.

Or, you might be experiencing a problem with cataracts. I can tell you that the first symptom of cataracts that I experienced was a “blinding” effect from oncoming headlights. Many others report the same effect.

There isn’t much that you can do about other people’s headlights, but you can do something if this is a problem with your own eyes. I would strongly suggest having your eyes checked for the presence of cataracts. And, please don’t say, “I’m too young for cataracts”. I began to experience this problem while in my mid-50s. Some forms of cataracts form much earlier than others, and I was unlucky enough to have the “early-forming” type. This might apply to you also.

Thanks, I had cataract surgery about nine years ago. And about five years ago I had the last vestiges of my natural lens burnt away. That is my completely bionic left eye, i still have some issues with my natural right eye. My grievance with the head lights is that they seem to be much brighter than they used to be. I realize there is nothing I can do about other peoples headlights except not drive at night. But my question is: are there or are there not standards that auto lights must comply with or has this, too, become a free for all. I remember my father, this was, admittedly, in the fifties, being cited for driving, in town, with his “brights” lit on Van Nuys Blvd. I have this notion that present day “low beams” are brighter than “high beams” from days gone by. My grief is with these blue lights that produce pain and reduce my own powers of perception. Are these higher end cars beyond their responsibility to preserve the conviviality of the road.

I drive a small car (Elantra) and have the same problem. It is not my cataracts or sensitivity to light. The newer halogen lamps that are offered at any auto parts store will provide that very bright bluesh light that can blind you when it comes up in your rear view mirror. I just flip down the rear view mirror screen and try to ignore them, however you cannot escape the glare at night from the side view mirrors. If you are seeing them in a bad way from the head-on position you may also have glare from your windshield from dirt or scratches.

I appreciate everyone’s reply to the headlight dilemma. Except that the replies all seem to regard me as some sort of retard who doesn’t wash his windows or know how to adjust his mirrors. I was hoping to open a discussion on the possibility that the materialist excess that seems to a cultural propensity is now exhibited in the strength of the headlights on the our cars. I was hoping to find some auto buff who had untangled the gobbledygook contained in the California Vehicle Code that seems to stuck in the '40’s.
I do appreciate all the replies. I am sure that they are all motivated by a sincere desire to make the world a better place. Then again maybe all of my correspondents live and drive in a less crowded America, one with many fewer German sedans, than I do. Thanks.

The old glass sealed beams could be precisely made and focused. They were simple to aim. They provided unequaled visibility without blinding oncoming drivers. The plastic bucket styling-comes-first headlights used today rely on faith to achieve proper aim and focus. Some owners replace the easy to change halogen bulbs with “European” or “off-road-use-only” high-wattage replacements sold on e-bay and other outlets and they don’t CARE if they blind you as long as THEY can see better…

There was a time when all oncoming headlights looked pretty much the same. Today, at night, they all look different because THEY ARE DIFFERENT…Standardized lighting is a thing of the past…

You may need to actually wear “sun glasses at night” as the old 80s song says.
Get polorized lenses to reduce glare. A lightly colored lens may be the ticket for night driving so you can see when there are no lights or use flip-ups as I do.

The key here is adaptation and many ideas and variations may need to be attempted. Including ( you probably already do ) look at the stripe on the right side of the road just in front of your hood thereby looking away from their lights as much as physically possible.

My wife has a worse time than you at night and we’re still trying different approaches. She had radial karatotomy ( the predecessor to lasic vision correction ) to both eyes 15 years ago and night time lighting ( street, car and signal lights ) stars out in her vision. add to that the reflection when raining and there are times she cannot drive at night.
Then to top it all off, she had a major injury to her right eye June of 08 and lost the vision in that eye !
Talk about learning to drive all over again ! :frowning:

Also, they do make lenses that reduce glare that are clear with no tint.
“I was hoping to open a discussion on the possibility that the materialist excess that seems to a cultural propensity is now exhibited in the strength of the headlights on the our cars. I was hoping to find some auto buff who had untangled the gobbledygook contained in the California Vehicle Code that seems to stuck in the '40’s.”

I think the intent of most here was to offer suggestions they had found helpful to them selves. To imply that we dismiss your problems because we may drive through Chicago or Boston and not LA and are not willing to join you in a march of your state govt. is “shortsighted” on your part. We share our experiences on matters that may offer some help while trying not to get too political or judgmental; unless of course we can get a laugh out of it.:slight_smile: Then the gloves come off for a post or two.
Sincerely…we hicks from the sticks.

Here’s another idea as to why it may seem that your issue is more recent than in years past.

Headlights are aimed by angle relative to the vehicle and with the proliferation of more SUVs and trucks on the road you may simply be in the mathematical minority in your Accord.
The trucks are taller , the Accord is shorter and it’s your relative position to their angle that puts more light in the eyes of shorter vehicle’s drivers.

Here in pickup country we get that complaint sometimes from those who are part of the 30% of drivers in cars.

I do valet at a hotel and you’d be surprised how many cars are dropped off with the high-beams left on.

On my way home from said job, part of my drive (conditions permitting) is on a windy, hilly country road, for it is the “scenic route” vs the boring but safe route, but anyway i’m rambling…I always encounter morons who seem to think its ok to leave their highbeams shining into oncoming traffic,

So I feel your pain!

Yeah, years ago, if someone had their high beams on and you flashed yours, they’d almost always turn them down. It seems no one does that anymore!

“Hoping for discussion…” We’ll most people learn to choose their battles and it’s evident in the response you got that this isn’t one of them.

You may need to have your eyes checked to assure they are still up to night driving. That said, I suspect that you are experiencing a lot of drivers who feel they need more light rather than better light. I see a lot of illegal lights and a lot of cheap imitations of the expensive HID lights. It is a shame that those people do not realize that they are blinding the driver that is headed towards them and it is common for a driver to drive towards the light. Why would anyone want to blind a driver making it more likely to have that head on collusion.

I also agree with Caddyman. With the old one size type lights easily aimed cheap to repair, we had better cheaper lights.

I strongly recommend anyone who has difficulty seeing at night to have their car and eyes checked. It is a matter of life and death.

I too drive a low car and have a problem with others’ headlights.

In addition to the proliferation of high intensity discharge lights, which do throw more lumens, and the proliferation of SUVs and rediculously huge pickup trucks, both of which have higher lights, lots of vehicles now come with dealer installed accessory lighting kits. And they’re often in the openings closer to the ground and aimed almost horizontally straight out.

The National Highway Traffic Sasfety Association (NHTSA) was investigating changing the maximum height of headlights some years back specifically because people in smaller cars were getting blinded by the lights. I don’t know what became of the investigation.

I’ve noticed the same thing when driving. I attribute it to various factors:

  1. People driving with high beams on all the time;
  2. Trucks/SUVs with headlights higher off the ground;
  3. HID lights, off road only lights, eBay super-bright/illegal lights, etc.

I don’t think there’s a whole lot we can do about the decisions other people make regarding their vehicles. As much as I hate being blinded, I’d still say that super bright headlights are less of a problem than people not using lights at all in low visibility situations.

I reckon I’m a minority, but I’ve been driving for something like 55 years and don’t find the number of misaimed/mismanaged headlights to be much if any higher than it was when I was in High School in the 1950s. I think the emphasis on style over function in vehicles is idiotic, and I don’t like the super bright halogen bulbs any better than anyone does, but most headlights seem to me to be aimed where they should be aimed. Of course, I live and drive in a largely rural area a long way from California and maybe things are different here.

Anyway, I’m with VDCdriver. If headlights seem to be getting brighter, it’s possibly time to get another vision check. I remember that my grandmother complained about glare just before she was diagnosed with Glaucoma.

I’m from MO and it used to be if you had brights on or misaligned headlights it was an automatic ticket if you got caught. Years ago they would simply take their nightsticks and bash the bulbs out of them. MO Hiway Patrol are still very strict on lighting although I still see too many Ultra-Blue lamps and morons that use their fog lights at all times.
You are right about the retina burning blue - high intensity blue lamps cause much more glare than other frequencies of light. The stupid thing is that the morons using these types of lamps create more glare in front of their vehicle esp. on damp nights.
Instead of wearing your ‘sunglasses at night’ get the anti glare coating and polarized lenses for your regular glasses, this should help.


Get some 20 million candlepower driving lights for your car and use them to flash the eyeballs out of these jerks! Nothing says ‘UP YOURS’ quite like night blindness for a few minutes!!
I bought some euro headlights for my 77 Mercedes because they look better. They are also extremely bright when on bright. Flashed a few with them ha! ha!
Hope this helps.

…because nothing makes the roads safer than blinding other drivers, even innocent bystanders. [/sarcasm]