“Oh, they are on.” Ever drive down the highway and wonder if your lights are really on? There’s a good reason for that. And it’s not your eyes.
A few weeks ago, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released results of its first-ever headlight ratings study.
The the Toyota Prius v is the only midsize car out of 31 evaluated to earn a good rating.
According to the study, “The best available headlights on 11 cars earn an acceptable rating, while nine only reach a marginal rating. Ten of the vehicles can’t be purchased with anything other than poor-rated headlights.”
Many of the poor-rated headlines even belong in the category of poor-rated headlights belong to luxury vehicles.
“With about half of traffic deaths occurring either in the dark or in dawn or dusk conditions, improved headlights have the potential to bring about substantial reductions in fatalities,” according to the IIHS.
There are new advances in headlight technology these days. The best systems produce effective lighting without excessive glare from oncoming vehicles.
Even with the highly rated Prius there is a catch. When equipped with LED lights and high-beam assist, they earn the top score. However, these headlights are only available with an advanced technology package, which is only available on the higher priced car. When equipped with regular halogen lights and without high-beam assist, the Prius v earns a poor rating.
Further, the IIHS states, “Among the headlight systems earning a poor rating, the halogen lights on the BMW 3 series are the worst. A driver with those headlights would have to be going 35 mph or slower to stop in time for an obstacle in the travel lane. A better choice for the same car is an LED curve-adaptive system with high-beam assist, a combination that rates marginal.
Curve-adaptive systems don’t always lead to better ratings. The Cadillac ATS, Kia Optima, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class all earn poor ratings even when equipped with adaptive low and high beams.”
To see how your vehicle faired in the study, go to http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/first-ever-iihs-headlight-ratings-show-most-need-improvement
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