VIDEO: Are Your Headlights Bright Enough?

by Community Manager on ‎06-29-2015 02:00 PM - last edited on ‎07-08-2015 04:19 PM by Lithium Technologies (20,993 Views)

AAA’s tests show that your headlights might fall short in safely
illuminating a dark road; older, cloudy lenses reduce visibility even more.



While only 25 percent of driving is done when it’s dark outside, 50 percent of crashes occur during those hours. Many factors can influence nighttime crash rates, of course, but one constant for vehicles driving at night is the need for headlights to properly illuminate the road ahead. AAA conducted tests recently that compare the illumination provided by the three most common types of headlights—halogen, high-intensity discharge (HID) and light-emitting diode (LED).


The Test

Driving at 55 miles per hour, you need about 500 feet to perceive an obstacle, react to it, and bring your vehicle to a complete and safe stop. AAA tested the distance illuminated by each headlight type at both low- and high-beam settings with no additional overhead lighting.


The Results

  • Halogen (the most common headlight, found on 80 percent of vehicles)
         Low-beam: 300 feet (leaving 200 feet of dark road where obstacles could be lurking)
         High-beam: 375 feet (still 125 feet of dark road)
  • High-intensity discharge (HID)
         Low-beam: 400 feet
         High-beam: 500 feet
  • Light-emitting diode (LED)
         Low-beam: 450 feet
         High-beam: 500 feet

The Conclusion

When driving at night on an unlit road, AAA recommends you use high beams whenever possible—but never when there’s oncoming traffic—and to monitor and adjust your driving speed to allow enough time to detect, react and stop your vehicle to avoid hitting an object on the roadway.


Cloudy Headlight Lenses

The protective coating used on modern plastic headlight lenses can slowly deteriorate, clouding up or yellowing after about five years. This can reduce light output by half and increase light scatter, which results in glare for other drivers. AAA’s tests found that you can dramatically improve the performance of your deteriorated headlights with a do-it-yourself headlight restoration kit available at most auto supply stores for less than $20. Here’s a how-to video for one of these products:



The restoration typically doubles the maximum light intensity and reduces glare-producing light scatter by 60 percent. Most auto shops—including AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities—perform headlight restoration services as well.



AAA Members save 10% on most parts and accessories—including headlight restoration kits—at NAPA Auto Parts. If you’d rather have a headlight restoration done for you, visit your nearest AAA Approved Auto Repair shop.



Image credit/source: Thinkstock
Video credit/source: Osram Sylvania


by GoodOne
on ‎07-22-2015 08:56 AM

This is a great demo video. I like step by step instruction, very clear. I am confident I can do this. Thanks.

by TerJ
on ‎07-22-2015 09:48 AM

Toothpaste works very well to clean headlight lenses. Just spread it, wait few minutes and wipe it clean. It is much cheaper and much effective than the kit.

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