Overly bright headlights now seem to be common

Anybody else noticing this problem? Newer cars have really bright white headlights that shine in your eyes either from the front or even worse, from the back through the outside rear view mirror, producing a bright white visual glare and making it harder to see? I mean compared to the older less bright yellowish headlights? Maybe it is just me, but these really bright headlights seem unsafe.

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They use HD bulbs.

Yes, I’ve noticed this too, but I haven’t ruled out that I’m getting older, and my eyes might be becoming more sensitive to light.

…but yes, I try to avoid driving at night because of this.

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you can put HID capsules in housings designed for non-hid bulbs and it will affect things. the other day i was ahead of a newer kia (thing) that had super bright square housings. i can usually see some portion of the bulb/reflector but this car was so bright all i saw a a large super bright white “square”. it was not an issue of hi/low bulbs. it was just odd. a very bright but not blinding or annoying light output.

Some of these are LED headlights. Although it is adjustable, many of them have a higher “color temperature” which
means they are quite blue. May appear white. People choose them because they look trendy, but they are actually very bad for human health. This is a big issue in streetlights, etc. Research goes back to the 80’s. In 2016 the AMA put out a report on light:

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Yep, in fact, makers of eyeglass lenses are now offering a special lens, tint, or coating (I can’t remember which) that filters out this part of the spectrum. I selected this feature for my latest pair of computer glasses. After adjusting to the slight difference in color, I don’t notice any difference. I might opt for it for my next pair of bifocals to see if it makes driving at night any easier.

Yup. And may even appear to have a bluish tint.

I too find LED bulbs irritating. But they’re here forever.

I also have a pair of amber-tinted sunglass clipons that I keep near my computer. Turns out most monitors put out a lot of blue. Bad for you to look at in the evening.

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I’ve seen a few dweebs using these on the road.


They are extremely annoying. One guy coming toward me…I could barely see the road because it was so bright.

are they even legal for road use? I doubt it.

That’s a bit overblown. If you own a computer you’re getting more blue light exposure than you get from the LEDs. And LEDs can be produced in warmer color temperatures.

I’m unaware of any scientific evidence that cool-temperature headlights are “very bad for human health.” If anything, the “blue light disturbs sleep patterns” might be a good thing - I don’t really want people who are driving cars to be more likely to fall asleep because people are shying away from headlights with blue emissions. :wink:

No, but how do you put a stop to it?

On the overall overly-bright headlights thing, I remember my parents saying the same thing when halogen lights started getting a lot more common than the old-style tungsten bulbs.

And what about people who don’t dim their brights on divided highways?

Just about everyone I encounter on a 2-lane road dims their brights, but often on divided highways people leave their brights on and seem less likely to respond appropriately if I flash my brights to remind/request them to dim theirs.

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George, at your next eye exam tell them, it could be related to an eye problem.

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Agree with texases I had the same problem before an exam found that I had cataracts after removal 7 years ago no more problem’s.

Computer screens are adjustable in brightness, and one can add eyewear as I do.
@shadowfax cool temperature lights are paradoxically what is colloquially called “warm light”.
A low Correlated Color Temperature (less than 3000 K is recommended for any night applications)
coincides with what is called warm light. While you may be unaware of it, there is a huge scientific
literature on the detrimental effects of night lighting, with blue wavelengths far the worst. This goes back to the mid-1980s. More blue isassociated with high color temperature LEDs. The effects of blue light are not temporary. The effect is probably caused by suppression of melatonin production in the body. It does not stop when the light goes off–it lasts for many hours. Police could give tickets for lighting, as they used to do for loud mufflers.
(Now ignored).
Do not confuse color temperature with brightness.

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Blue light is also more strongly scattered by such things as fog or cataracts, making visibility more difficult.

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My iPhone has a setting called “Night Shift,” which adjusts the color spectrum of the screen to cut down on blue light at night. I have mine programmed to come on at sunset and turn off at sunrise. I believe Windows 10 also offers a feature like this. I seem to remember activating it on one of my computers.

I just looked up the receipt for my latest pair of computer glasses, and they use special lenses (rather than a special tint or coating): “1.67 High-Index Beyond UV Blue Blockers.”

Not all LED bulbs have this problem - well, at least not the household bulbs. The ones that say “daylight” on the packaging tend to have this issue, but if you buy the ones that say “warm light” on the package, they’re better. I particularly like the new clear LED bulbs that look similar to traditional Edison-era filaments.

@Whitey it’s good to see someone aware of this issue.
I have got a pair of those yellow clip ons I wear on my computer glasses. I do not know for sure
how well it works, but it ought to suppress blue.

Another place this has become an issue is street lights. A lot of places are putting in 4000 K daylight streetlights,
but the AMA and others recommend 3000 K (warm white). This is a town-by-town struggle.

I must admit that, a couple weeks ago, I was installing a motion sensor/security light fixture on the side of the garage at my mother’s house, and I selected “daylight” LED bulbs for it because I like the way they look. The fixture is mounted in an area where I didn’t want to use floodlight bulbs. The fixture I installed on the front of the garage uses floodlight bulbs, but I wanted omnidirectional bulbs on the side, and in spite of what I know about the harmful effects of blue UV light, I like the way they look. Maybe, upon reflection, it wasn’t such a good idea, but at least they only come on for five minutes at a time.

I agree. A few minutes won’t hurt much. I am using leftover daylight bulbs in applications like that.
I don’t know if those LEDs put out much UV. But plain old blue is bad for living things at night.
By the way, I bought up a bunch of old tungsten bulbs before they went off the market for motion
sensors. They were cheap. Who cares about the power when they are on for 5 minutes?