Blinding headlights have become a perennial problem among drivers in the United States. It poses a significant risk to road safety and cause discomfort for motorists on a daily basis. As technology has advanced and automotive lighting systems have become increasingly powerful, the issue of headlight glare has intensified, resulting in a growing concern among drivers nationwide. The blinding effect of these headlights not only impairs visibility but also leads to driver distraction, fatigue, and potential accidents. This issue affects drivers of all types of vehicles, from sedans and trucks to motorcycles and bicycles, making it a pervasive challenge on American roads. Now the concern of motorists in the U.S. regarding blinding headlights is recently making headlines once more. VIDEO
Blinding headlights are growing problem on US roads
Blinding headlights can cause several problems, both for the drivers experiencing the glare and for other road users. Here are some of the potential issues caused by blinding headlights: a. Reduced visibility When drivers are exposed to blinding headlights, their vision can be temporarily impaired, leading to reduced visibility of the road ahead. This can make it difficult to detect hazards, pedestrians, or other vehicles, increasing the risk of accidents. As Ashley Seery from Chicago told Insider : “ „ It’s to the point where I will avoid driving at night because some headlights are just so bright. - Ashley Seery She added: “ „ They can literally blind me. I have to turn my mirrors away so that I can drive in peace without the glare. - Ashley Seery b. Eye strain and fatigue Constant exposure to intense light can cause eye strain and fatigue, especially during nighttime driving. Struggling to adapt to sudden changes in brightness can lead to: discomfort headaches decreased concentration c. Disorientation and impaired judgment Blinding headlights can momentarily blind drivers, causing disorientation and impaired judgment. This can make it challenging to accurately assess distances, determine the speed of oncoming vehicles, or make appropriate driving decisions. d. Glare recovery time After being exposed to bright headlights, it takes time for the eyes to recover and readjust to normal lighting conditions. e. Distraction and loss of focus When drivers are faced with intense glare from oncoming headlights, their attention may be diverted from the road ahead, leading to distraction and loss of focus. This can result in delayed reactions to potential hazards or changes in traffic conditions. Collisions can happen as a result of a combination of these three: reduced visibility impaired judgment distraction The possibility increase during these conditions: night driving inclement weather when encountering improperly adjusted or overly bright headlights Two cars and two SUVs in a dark tunnel at nighttime with headlights on Super bright headlights - typically described as blinding headlights - in the U.S. must comply with certain regulations to ensure they are not excessively bright or pose a safety hazard to other drivers on the road. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has established regulations regarding headlight brightness and intensity. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108 sets the requirements for headlight performance in the U.S. According to these standards, headlights must meet specific criteria, including: brightness beam pattern aiming The purpose of these regulations is to ensure that headlights provide adequate illumination for the driver without blinding oncoming traffic. While there is no specific brightness limit stated in FMVSS No. 108, headlights that emit an excessively bright or dazzling light can be considered non-compliant. State laws may also have specific regulations regarding headlight brightness, so it’s essential to check the laws in your particular state for more specific information. VIDEO
Thousands of drivers sign petition calling for ban on 'blinding' vehicle headlights
Bright or blinding headlights can be a nuisance and potentially hazardous, especially when they impair your vision while driving at night. Here are some suggestions on how to mitigate the impact of bright headlights and improve your safety: 1. Adjust your own headlights. Ensure that your headlights are properly aligned and aimed correctly. Misaligned headlights can contribute to the problem and make it harder for you to see clearly. 2. Clean your windshield and mirrors. Regularly clean your windshield, both inside and outside, as well as your rearview and side mirrors. Dust, dirt, and smudges can scatter light and make the glare worse. 3. Use anti-glare features. Most rear-view mirrors have an anti-glare function that you can activate. It reduces the intensity of light coming from the vehicles behind you, lessening the glare. 4. Look to the right side of the road. When bright or blinding headlights approach from the opposite direction, shift your gaze slightly to the right side of the road. This helps to avoid direct exposure to the glare. 5. Avoid looking directly at the headlights. Instead of focusing on the bright lights or the blinding headlights, try to glance at the road markings or the edge of the road. That way, you can maintain your orientation without directly staring into the glare. Car with bright headlights at night passing along illuminated buildings in a street in Amsterdam 6. Dim your dashboard lights. Reduce the brightness of your dashboard lights to avoid further contrast between the bright lights outside and the dimmer interior. This can help prevent additional strain on your eyes. 7. Wear anti-glare glasses. Consider wearing glasses with anti-glare coatings or lenses designed to reduce the impact of bright lights and blinding headlights. These glasses can be especially helpful for individuals who are more sensitive to glare. 8. Increase following distance. If a vehicle with excessively bright headlights is tailgating you, increase the following distance between your car and the one in front. This can provide you with a buffer zone and reduce the glare. 9. Talk to a professional. Visit an automotive service center or dealership to inquire if any modifications can be made to your vehicle’s headlights to minimize their brightness. 10. Report extreme cases. If you frequently encounter vehicles with excessively bright or blinding headlights that pose a significant hazard, consider reporting them to local law enforcement. Provide details such as the vehicle’s description, license plate number, and the time and location of the incidents. Remember, your safety is paramount. Always stay focused, drive defensively, and, if necessary, pull over to a safe location until the bright or blinding headlights have passed. A lone car on the road with bright headlights during nighttime and another light behind it There are several possible reasons why certain people may be bothered by headlights: a. Sensitivity to light Some individuals are more sensitive to bright lights, including headlights. This sensitivity can be due to a condition called photophobia, which causes discomfort or pain in response to light exposure. It may be a result of underlying eye conditions, such as: cataracts corneal abnormalities eye injuries b. Glare Headlights, especially when they are improperly aligned or on high beams or what we call blinding headlights, can produce intense glare that can be distracting and uncomfortable for some people. Glare occurs when the light scatters and reflects off surfaces, reducing visibility and causing discomfort. c. Night blindness Individuals with night blindness have difficulty seeing in low-light conditions, such as at night or in dimly lit environments. When they encounter oncoming headlights, it can temporarily blind them and make it challenging to see the road clearly. d. Migraine or headache triggers For some individuals, bright lights, including headlights, can trigger migraines or headaches. This can be due to the light intensity, flickering effects, or the contrast between the bright lights and the surrounding environment. e. Anxiety or sensory processing issues People with anxiety disorders or sensory processing issues may be more sensitive to sensory stimuli, including bright lights or blinding headlights. For some individuals, headlights particularly blinding headlights can cause: discomfort anxiety sensory overload Astigmatism itself does not typically cause light sensitivity. Astigmatism is a refractive error that occurs when the cornea or lens of the eye has an irregular shape, causing blurred or distorted vision at both near and far distances. Light sensitivity, aka photophobia, is the heightened sensitivity to light, leading to discomfort or pain in bright environments. It can be caused by various factors, including migraines and medication side effects. Coca-Cola is sometimes suggested as a DIY method to clean headlights due to its acidic nature. The theory is that the acidity of Coca-Cola can help remove oxidation and grime from the headlights, making them appear clearer. While Coca-Cola may temporarily improve the appearance of headlights, it is not a long-term solution. Also, the sugary residue left by Coca-Cola can attract dirt and potentially cause more harm than good. More and more motorists in the U.S. - also possible in other countries as well - are complaining about blinding headlights. And why not? They can be life threatening! No wonder bright headlights that exceed the legal limits or cause glare and discomfort to other drivers may be considered illegal in the U.S. It’s important to be aware of blinding headlights and to use headlights that meet the necessary safety standards and don’t compromise the visibility and safety of other road users.