IIHS Headlight Test Reveal a Need for Improvement of Most Cars

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted its first-ever headlight evaluation on 31 mid-size cars and believe it or not, the Toyota Prius v was the only one to earn a good rating. Eleven cars’ headlights had a rating of acceptable, nine were rated marginal and ten were rated poor. Luxury vehicles, in spite of their high price tags, made up most of the poorly rated.

David Zuby, IIHS EVP and CRO, says that headlights instead of poor vision may be to blame when drivers cannot see at night.

Good headlights are important to enable drivers to see what is on the road, including bicyclists, pedestrians and obstacles. But the standards set by government allow a diverse quantity of illumination in headlights for actual driving at nighttime. This is a critical factor in car crashes since about fifty percent of fatalities are due to nighttime accidents, or the dusk and dawn hours.

Newer headlight technology has created the HID or LED lamps, making halogen lamps obsolete. There is also the new curve adaptive headlights that work along with the car’s steering. However, headlight evaluation focuses not on technology but on sufficient illumination output minus the glare produced by drivers of approaching cars.

The IIHS tests headlights at their Vehicle Research Center at night. It uses equipment that measures light from low beam and high beam as the car is driven using five methods: straight travel, a sharp curve both to the left and right, and a gradual curve also both to the left and right. Glare from oncoming cars are included in the evaluation to determine if it is too much. The results are then compared to a theoretically ideal headlight system.

Many law firms welcome headlight testing because they know that many car accidents that occur at night are caused by substandard one. With this evaluation, it is hoped that car companies will ensure that their cars have headlights that will make the roads at night safer for driving.