Disclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.
Living in a rural community, the threat of deer and other animals running out into the middle of the road at night is a very real and highly probable danger for drivers. In the past month alone in our town we’ve experienced two serious car crashes – both involving young drivers – that happened at night on dark roads. While speed and distracted driving are always top concerns, visibility is another serious issue.
A study by Carnegie Mellon indicates that nearly half of all accidents occur at night despite 25 percent less traffic on the road due to limited visibility. And, according to the National Safety Council, traffic death rates on the road occur at a rate three times greater at night than during the day.
Recently, AAA conducted testing on headlights to assess capabilities and limitations. The study revealed the potential for significant headlight shortcomings when traveling on roadways that lack overhead lighting, typically America’s rural roads, which account for 40 percent of vehicle miles traveled annually.
“AAA’s test results reveal that headlights found in U.S. vehicles fall short on safety,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “By failing to properly light roadways at moderate speeds, a pedestrian or animal may not become visible to a driver until it’s too late to stop.”
While high-beam settings on halogen headlights improved sight distances by 28 percent at the testing facility, in real-world conditions they may only provide enough light to safely stop at speeds of up to 48 mph, leaving drivers vulnerable at highway speeds. Despite the clear need for the additional visibility that high-beams offer, particularly on unlit roads, a recent AAA survey found that only a third of Americans admit to using these settings regularly.
Most concerning is the fact that halogen headlights, found in over 80 percent of vehicles on the road today, may fail to safely illuminate unlit roadways at speeds as low as 40 mph.
Sylvania Automotive Lighting wants drivers to know that if visibility is a concern, they have choices that can improve their vehicle’s headlight performance.
- Restore your headlights. Based on AAA’s study, this can double the maximum light intensity and reduce glare-producing light scatter by up to 60 percent. Sylvania’s headlight restoration kit is unique in that it includes a UV Block Clear Coat, which helps protect lenses from future sun damage. At just $20, it’s an affordable solution with a lifetime warranty that restores headlights to like-new condition.
- Change bulbs before burnout. Many people don’t realize that headlights dim over time. If you can’t remember the last time you replaced your bulbs, it is probably time to do so.
- Upgrade for additional clarity. Whiter, brighter headlight bulbs are available in the aftermarket and designed to provide additional down road and side road visibility compared to standard halogen headlight bulbs. They can help drivers identify and react more quickly to road hazards.