We’ve all been dazzled by headlights at some point, whether it’s from oncoming traffic or someone behind, only to discover that the offending car is actually on dipped beam. Some of the latest LED and xenon units are vicious.
A United Nations Working Party, which includes representation from the UK, has started to look at the issue following a growing number of public complaints dating back (in this country, at least) to the ‘Lightmare’ campaign that was started in 2011 by a London-based taxi driver.
An RAC survey suggests that 65 per cent of people are ‘regularly dazzled’ by oncoming headlights, with 15 per cent admitting to a near-miss that they blame on dazzling lights. Most of these people say it takes them up to five seconds to get their full sight back, by which time, if they’re holding 60mph, they can have travelled 134m. Not good, and even opticians don’t like it.
The latest designs of headlights are brighter and whiter, illuminating the road with not just more light, but a more natural colour of beam that’s less strenuous for the driver’s eye. Not as much thought has been given to other drivers on the road, perhaps, with 68 per cent of people saying they had difficulty in judging whether a car’s indicators were on because its headlights were so bright.
All cars sold in the UK have headlights that technically conform to the EU’s current standards, but campaigners want the standards to be changed. RAC spokesman Pete Williams said:
“While regulations specify that all types of dipped headlights must fall between a maximum and minimum luminosity the night-time driving experience of motorists of all ages is very different with many saying dipped beams of some modern vehicles are too bright.
“We look forward to seeing the progress of the United Nations’ vehicle lighting working group in April.”