Overly bright headlights now seem to be common

That’s not entirely accurate. Color temperature is not an actual temperature, but a comparison metric. A given color temperature is what temperature a non-existant ideal black-body radiator would have to be in order to produce a given color of light. It does not mean the light source itself, or the light itself, is that temperature. Anything over 5,000k is a cool color.

Not sure…but I’ve seen them several times in the last month. And unless a cop sees it - it’ll continue.

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Yes, that was accurate. Lights with a low color temperature tend more toward yellowish, and are called warm light.

Someone here mentioned cataracts. Having suffered from cataracts until I became almost blind at night, I can testify as to their ability to destroy night vision. I strongly urge older people who struggle with their vision being washed out at night by oncoming lights to have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist… NOT and optometrist. When I got the first surgery I was stunned at how much vision I’d lost.

I’d also like to add another “oncoming lights” beef to the thread: pickup trucks. The roads have too many pickup truck whose headlights are too high not to blind drivers in sedans, coupes, and sportscars. And some of these owners lift their trucks further up, making the problem even worse. Some years back the feds were considering lowering the headlight height requirement for trucks to be similar to cars to alleviate this problem, but they apparently never did. It wouldn’t help with the jacked up trucks, but would have helped with stock pickups.

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The inaccuracy was in calling warm-colored light “cool temperature light.” It isn’t. It’s “low color temperature light.” The distinction is that “color temperature” does not actually refer to a physical temperature, and therefore calling it “cool temperature light” would be like calling something torqued to 20lb/ft “long torque.”

An eye problem that causes problems only with really bright white headlights? I have no problem at all with the many older cars still on the road, using the bulbs they came equipped with, more yellow and less bright. So there’s an eye problem that shows up more with very bright white light? If the offending car is coming towards me it’s not so much of a problem . The worse glare situation happens with an SUV with tall headlights behind me if it has those bright white headlights. I can dim the brightness in the rear view mirror, but no way to dim the side view mirror brightness.

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Absolutely. Cataracts.
You may not have cataracts, but if you have any type of light sensitivity it’s always wise to get your eyes properly checked by an ophthalmologist.


Will do on my next checkup, thanks everyone for the advice.

“Bright white” headlights have a high color temperature, ie they have a lot of blue component in the light. It is a well known physics problem to calculate scattering from particles (like in cataracts or fog or dust). Scattering is much stronger for the blue wavelengths, thus the worse viewing. This is the same reason the sky is blue and the sunset reddish.

Ah, that might explain the more of a tendency to of the beam to create a glare with very white headlights.

We had some rain here last night, so a good chance to do a glare test. No question about it. The cars – especially taller SUVs – hosting bright white headlights are the source of the glare problem I’m noticing. Espcially noticeable on rain soaked roads. Definitely much worse and much more uncomfortable glare with the bright white headlights compared to cars with the standard yellowish and not as bright. The standard brightness yellowish headlights caused no glare problem at all.

@melott, in case you or anyone else is interested, the setting in Windows 10 is called “night light,” and it can be found in the display settings.

The glare from modern lamps absolutely blinds me. On a 2 lane road I often find myself staring at the ditch when meeting someone head on so as to avoid welding blindness. And still see spots at times…

I’m sure there’s no study on this but I have to wonder how many new cars have lamps that are out of adjustment? The usual spec is center of the beam drops 1 inch for every 25 feet and veers to the right 1 inch for every 25 feet.
I suspect most, if not all, cars do not meet that spec.

At one dealer where I worked (VW, SAAB, and Honda) part of the PDI was to inspect the headlight adjustment as a final step. I don’t remember ever seeing one car that did not need an adjustment.

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And even if they’re aimed properly, then the owner throws a bunch of heavy stuff in the trunk and gets his hefty cousins in the back seat and… There ya go, mis-aimed again.

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Another test: if you see a halo surrounding street lights, you may have cataracts. I do, and they aren’t too bad yet. The ophthalmologist will let you know when you need lens replacements, if ever. Get your eyes checked by the opthalmologist every two years. There are a number of things that might go wrong with old eyes. If the problems are caught early, they can often be fixed. If not, you can go blind. Get those eyes checked so that you can drive on.

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The factory I work in has replaced pretty much all the florescent light bulbs with LEDs, even the parking lot lamps, and it has made everything almost awash in bright white light.

I understand the need to save on electricity, but it also makes it a bit more difficult to find the defects in the paint they want us to look for(bright white light reflecting off white paint).

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Yesterday I was “treated” to the brightest (by far) headlights I have ever seen! Of course they were on a jacked up truck that ended up behind me in a left turn lane. I have no idea what kind of lights they were. Incredibly bright white. I only looked for a second and my night vision was very impaired for 3 minutes! Whatever they were I hope they are not legal.


I agree, those white bright headlights pose a serious safety concern. I wonder if any new headlight brightness regulations are being considered?

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There are already comprehensive headlight regulations… for the manufacturers. They cover total output, spectra, intensity, beam width, beam height, and on and on and on. They must comply with a complicated combination of U.S. regulations and EU regulations.

However, only 17 states have any vehicle inspection program, and those that do only check to see if the lights go on. The roads are replete with vehicles whose lights have been in some way modified, and many many pickups that have been jacked up so the lights blind everyone else.

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If so, the regulators are not considering the total effects those new headlights have on glare and how it affects other drivers, perhaps in particular older drivers. At least for me, and apparently some others here have noticed it according to the posts above. I doubt the problem I’m seeing is b/c aftermarket headlights have been installed or the existing headlights modified or the vehicles have been lifted. these all mostly look like nearly brand new cars.

It’s definitely the newer cars headlights that are causing it. There’s still plenty of older cars on the road here with the ordinary yellowish headlights, and I notice absolutely no glare problem from those at all.

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