Headlight design alterations have caused concerns after a recent safety study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed that headlight modules used in new vehicle models come off the factory line poorly aimed. This design flaw may result in negative glare effects that make the brighter, more efficient LED bulbs useless. Ineffective headlights can contribute to increased numbers of car accidents on the road.
The recent switch to poorly designed LED headlight modules has resulted in a decline in manufacture ratings in the headlight safety department. In a series of tests conducted by the institute, engineers measured how far light is projected from low and high beams in different driving conditions and situations. Headlights were tested on new models of 100 different vehicle manufacturers to test for strength and glare.
Out of the 100 models tested by the Institute for Highway Safety, over 40 received poor results in the headlight category. Due to the requirement that vehicles receive a good headlight rating to make the cut for the institution’s Top Safety Pick Award, only 15 vehicle models qualified for the prestigious award in 2018, down from 38 last year.
A Call for Change
Although prominent vehicle manufacturers strive to make vehicles safe for consumers, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has very strict tests to ensure that consumers are receiving the best vehicles available.
The headlight safety examination was introduced in 2016 to test headlight functionality in a more dynamic setting. While it is important to note that only newer vehicle models have been tested and the institute goes above and beyond federal requirements during testing, the organization hopes to influence vehicle manufacturers in a positive way.
As the majority of fatal motor vehicle accidents occur during periods of limited visibility, including night time hours, the institute’s main objective is to limit preventable car accidents by enforcing top standards.
Improved Design & Functionality
New developments in headlight technology may be able to correct headlight aim and improve visibility while reducing glare.
Varroc, an automobile component manufacturer recently introduced the Surface LED, a new bulb designed with functionality in mind that can be manufactured in curved, three dimensional shapes. By developing curved designs, bulbs can be produced with vehicle make and model in mind to improve headlight aim and increase visibility.
Increased headlight functionality may also help to improve headlight safety. Technology used in Europe may be helpful, particularly headlight leveling, which is technology that can re-aim headlights depending on vehicle weight and view distance.
Adaptive driving technology may also help to improve visibility by allowing high beams to light a driver’s entire path if oncoming vehicles are not present.
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