Headlight glare ‘getting worse’, drivers say

10.02 | 11 June 2019 |

An ‘overwhelming proportion’ of drivers want the Government to update headlight regulations to reduce the problems caused by glare, a survey suggests.

Government statistics show there are around 300 collisions every year where dazzling headlights are a factor.

In a new survey published by the RAC, 84% of respondents said they want regulations to be updated for the first time since the 1960s to take into account newer technologies such as xenon and LED.

The survey results suggest that glare – caused by a headlight’s beam having a dazzling effect for oncoming traffic – is experienced by an estimated 16m drivers annually.

Moreover, the survey suggests the problem is worsening, with 54% of respondents saying they are dazzled more regularly now than a year ago.

Rod Dennis, RAC spokesperson, said: “The dazzling effect of another driver’s headlights isn’t just uncomfortable – in some cases it can be nothing short of dangerous, making us lose sight of the road for a short time.

“So it’s concerning to see that a greater proportion of drivers have reported problems with glare this year than last year.”

Drivers ‘less clear on the likely causes’
More than half (51%) of respondents blamed vehicles that sit higher on the road, such as increasingly-popular SUVs, for the dazzling effect – although 41% said the problem was not caused by any particular type of vehicle.

When it comes to lighting technologies, 55% believe ‘bluer’ xenon or the most modern LED headlights are to blame – but a similar number (51%) are not sure or can’t tell the difference between the types of lights.

Rod Dennis added: “Among some drivers there is a perception that newer headlights cause more glare.

“But while a sizeable proportion claim it is the xenon headlights more often found in higher-end vehicles that are primarily to blame, a greater proportion either don’t know the difference between lights or aren’t sure.

“In reality, the issue of glare is a complex one and it’s not as straightforward as saying one type of lightbulb causes more of a dazzling effect than another – there are a range of reasons why a driver might be dazzled, from a slight misalignment of a headlight, the difference in ride height of different vehicles and even individual people’s vision.”



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