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rovinmad

Very Bright Headlights

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There seem to be more and more cars on the road that have extremely bright headlights. I often seem to have one uncomfortably close behind on the country lanes around here. I had a Range Rover catch me up last night that was so bright I had to stop because I simply could not see where I was going. There surely must be a limit to the output that headlights can legally produce.

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There seem to be more and more cars on the road that have extremely bright headlights. I often seem to have one uncomfortably close behind on the country lanes around here. I had a Range Rover catch me up last night that was so bright I had to stop because I simply could not see where I was going. There surely must be a limit to the output that headlights can legally produce.

 

There is indeed a limit but illegally bright bulbs and fitments are available from various sources.

 

Proper and legal original fitment 'Xenon' lights (like our Antata has) are bright but shouldn't dazzle anybody if set up correctly. They are noticeably brighter to other road users too I would say but that said I've never been flashed by an oncoming vehicle.

 

I was never a fan of them TBH but the car we were buying happened to have them and now I think they are just great, I might change my mind when I need to renew a bulb though. ....(they aint cheap!!)

 

ed - to add. LED Headlights are becoming increasingly common now too and these are very 'bright' but are allegedly reputed to cause less 'scatter' and hence any dazzle to other road users.

Edited by Tin_Snail

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There is indeed a limit but illegally bright bulbs and fitments are available from various sources.

 

Proper and legal 'Xeon' lights (like our Antata has) are bright but shouldn't dazzle anybody if set up correctly. They are noticeably brighter to other road users too I would say but that said I've never been flashed by an oncoming vehicle.

 

I was never a fan of them TBH but the car we were buying happened to have them and now I think they are just great, I might change my mind when I need to renew a bulb though. ....(they aint cheap!!)

The limit was expressed as electrical power, 55w, for filament bulbs - the legislation hadn't caught up with the use of HID, much less LED lighting. Most of the high intensity halogen bulbs are fully legal as still only 55w - but made to give a more intensive light source.

 

I believe that changes based on light output are coming, but I don't know where that legislation is.

 

The "basic" lighting on my VW Touareg is 25w Bi-Xenon - at that output it doesn't need the levelling or washers normally associated with HIDs - but they are inferior to the 35w Bi-Xenon available as an extra cost option, having driven such a model, and I regret not ordering them.

 

A big part of the problem for car drivers is that SUV lights are considerably higher up, so even when they comply with the dipped beam legal requirement the top of the beam is still way off the ground.

Edited by Black Grouse

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The limit was expressed as electrical power, 55w, for filament bulbs - the legislation hadn't caught up with the use of HID, much less LED lighting. Most of the high intensity halogen bulbs are fully legal as still only 55w - but made to give a more intensive light source.

 

Sorry yes I wasn't being totally clear, I was thinking about the (filament) retrofit stuff, and blue-ish types :rolleyes: that young Darren sticks into the light units on his Corsa/Fiesta to try and emulate HID lights.

 

Not normally available from 'reputable' sources.

 

Linky to some examples on eBay. At least some sellers remember to point out these are for 'off road use only' -

 

Easy to swap out at MOT time.

Edited by Tin_Snail
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I think headlight regulations are well out of touch in some cases with new technology, flat beam, projector, hid, Led and as said xenon . Headlights are far brighter now than even 10 years ago which is better in some respects but not for other drivers .

 

 

Drivers now seem more unconcerned about other drivers by driving on full beam especially following you .

 

Modern vans now have headlights just below the front windscreen which is at rear window height.

 

 

Dave

Edited by CommanderDave

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Even an old-fashioned bulb will dazzle if not correctly aimed and adjusted -

 

Add higher brightness levels to poor alignment, toss in some unnecessary spot/fog lights (front or rear), a dash of sitting at traffic lights with foot on brake and indicators on even though it's 50 yards back in a stationary queue, with a sprinkle of high-intensity running lights. ....and for good measure bring in a few fools who don't understand that lights are not just for lighting your way but also to let others see you. ....

 

and hey presto, welcome to today's roads :angry:

 

then add rain and dirty windows together with Kevin's need to impress with wheelspin. ....

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Not a problem in some cars with automatic dimming rear view mirrors.

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Auto-dip helps with the inside mirror, but most (all) my cars have lacked the same facility on the door mirrors. ....and I was actually thinking about dazzle from in front as well, e. g. in traffic light queues. ..

Edited by Coriolis

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Auto-dip helps with the inside mirror, but most (all) my cars have lacked the same facility on the door mirrors. ... .and I was actually thinking about dazzle from in front as well, e. g. in traffic light queues. ..

 

Again a feature our Antara has - I never really noticed until we'd had it a short while.

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I quite agree with the OP's comment, I've been on the verge of starting this thread myself.

 

I would say that only on a small number of ocassions is the problem related to inapropriate aftermarket equipment, for the most part it is late model cars with the various types of new lighting technology. I live in a busy suburban area so get to a lot of traffic, I'd go as far as to say that (from my own expereince) there is a particualr issue with late model Mercedes, the intensity of their DRL's is very high and added to a super bright dipped beam they realy are an uncomfortablley bright light source.

 

If I'm being trailed by a car with such lights I too have got to the point of pulling over to let the car pass. It's not so easy when such lights are drviing towards you. I've heard that many new light unit don't have the old fashioned taper on the dipped beam cut off and they are simpley flat. I would certainly agree that new tech lights provide a much more defined cut off, but once you you are under the cut off it can get very uncomfortable.

 

Then you've got a number of drivers who don't appear to know how use their headlamp adjustment for load compensation, and then another culprit is the person who simpley doesn't have the bulb fitted in the correct orientation, now given the level of difficulty that is involved in changing headlamp bulbs on many cars today I can understand how some might fail to fit a bulb correclty, which is possible despite the mounting pin arrangements designed to prevent it. Finally there is the driver who is so clueless about what is going on that they simply don't realise they are driving on main beam, whichjust isn't apropriate in a street lit built up area. :angry:

 

Just looked at the clock, I've got another 90 minutes today before the lighting mayhem starts again this evening. :lol:

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I'm with the OP on this one. I have moaned regularly not only about the brightness but the automatic dip being too late . I love night driving and will choose late travel over daytime, but the lights are getting more of a problem - and yes my eyes are good! B)

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It pays to check your leveling settings every now and again as well, on my previous car I would catch it with my knee and end up lighting up aircraft, or frying moles.

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I'm with the OP on this one. I have moaned regularly not only about the brightness but the automatic dip being too late . I love night driving and will choose late travel over daytime, but the lights are getting more of a problem - and yes my eyes are good! B)

Slightly off topic perhaps - but I do agree that the automatic dip function does sometimes seem to be a little slow, despite the fact that I have set mine to the highest sensitivity. I have to intervene on occasions, if only by a split-second, which rather defeats what is otherwise a useful aid. I haven't tried it on the two lower settings, but I can't help thinking that these may well annoy oncoming drivers.

Edited by GMC

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There are two sides to this argument . In 2010 I owned a Mercedes E Class estate which had (Properly adjusted) Bi Exenon lights, they were superb. But the car didn't tow my heavy van well so I changed the E class for the ML which is a superb Tow car. But it has ordinary halogen lights. ( Also properly adjusted) But they are very inferior! Especially on wet roads with dirty lane markings etc.

I actually think that the better night vision provided by the new lights exceeds the down side of the dazzle. The key is proper adjustment and more Police traffic patrols to enforce that!

TF

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I've got the automatic headlight feature available on my 2015 VW Touareg, but I too think its a little slow to change.

I do like the fact that it seems to dip only the offside headlight so the road signs are still clear on unlit roads, but that's still likely to give glare to people driving the other way.

I'm not a great fan of night time driving nowadays, i've been very short-sighted since I was in my early teens and now with varifocals I find I get a lot of glare at night even on lit roads.

I can understand people in front of SUV's thinking the headlights are on high beam, I have a friend with an Audi TT who says the same.

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My pet hate is the daytime LED lights which have rapidly become a styling gimmick. Some of them actually manage to dazzle in broad daylight! How this is a safety feature is beyond me.

 

I think the problem these days is that many drivers are 'night blind' and really can't see where they are going if not following a pool of bright light. There also appears to be a competition going on as to who can have the most/brightest lights. I always assume that more lights = less ability as this frequently seems to be the case. To date the most I've seen is 8: sides, heads (full & dip) & pool (or fog) lights. Excessive hardly covers it!

 

BTW. As if over-bright lights were not bad enough, I bought a car from the auctions recently. Not being a frequent night driver the lights hadn't been used apart from testing for the MOT. Imagine my surprise when the tester called me over to show me why it had 'failed' on headlight dip. The previous owner had managed to fit the bulbs up-side-down! Quite difficult but obviously not impossible. I couldn't manage to do it, & I DID try LOL.

Edited by micktheshed

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Hmmmm, seems I was at cross-purposes when talking about auto-dip. ..

 

I was thinking about auto-dim interior mirrors.

 

I hadn't realised cars today come with auto-dipping of headlights, as indicated by later posters.

 

I was taught to dip my lights when I saw the opponents lights coming around a corner, or as soon as I saw them if the road was straight, and similarly to dip my own immediately I could see red tail lights ahead of me, and I still try to do that, although it seems many others are less concerned.

 

I'm struggling to see how any auto-dip mechanism could react either to headlights approaching without waiting until the opposing full beam fell on them (by which time I'm already dazzled), or to red tail lights ahead (by which time HE's already dazzled).....

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I also agree with the OP and another of my dislikes is the idiots who insist on using fog lights on clear nights :angry:

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Hmmmm, seems I was at cross-purposes when talking about auto-dip. ..

 

I was thinking about auto-dim interior mirrors.

 

I hadn't realised cars today come with auto-dipping of headlights, as indicated by later posters.

 

I was taught to dip my lights when I saw the opponents lights coming around a corner, or as soon as I saw them if the road was straight, and similarly to dip my own immediately I could see red tail lights ahead of me, and I still try to do that, although it seems many others are less concerned.

 

I'm struggling to see how any auto-dip mechanism could react either to headlights approaching without waiting until the opposing full beam fell on them (by which time I'm already dazzled), or to red tail lights ahead (by which time HE's already dazzled).....

The electronics in auto-dip head light react quicker than normal drivers - in LED lamps nothing moves, just switching particular LEDs off/on and with Bi-Xenons the shield can move very quickly, like the mirror in the old SLR cameras.

 

The nice part about the automatic lights is they can project sideways for corners, so based on angle of steering and speed it makes it easier to see where you need to go - wish I had them :(

Edited by Black Grouse
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Coriolis: "I'm struggling to see how any auto-dip mechanism could react. .....to red tail lights ahead (by which time HE's already dazzled).....

 

The sensor(s) can pick up red tail lights a long way ahead - returning home late a couple of evenings ago there is a straight stretch on the route of about 2-300 yds. The vehicle ahead of me must have been at almost the maximum but my headlights refused to go to main beam until it was fully out of sight as it rounded a slight bend. The downside is that reflective red markers on the roadside can have the same effect until the system has worked out what they are.

 

As useful as this facility is, I can't help thinking that it could well be a pain when it (and all the other clever systems fitted these days) has a sulk!

Edited by GMC
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Every day's a school day. ....thanks both for the explanations :)

 

So must assume that those who continually dazzle me simply lack auto-dip or the intelligence/courtesy to do so themselves. .. :rolleyes:

 

Hey Ho

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Having had factory fit bi-xenon front lights on our Insignia, the difference at night is literally "night and day". Given the choice, I'd never go back to halogen bulbs, the difference is that great. As for dazzling oncoming drivers, our bi-xenons were adjusted correctly and I got them checked on a beam setter at an MOT station. There can be situations when say on an undulating road where the beam can "bounce". This isn't usually an issue with halogen bulbs as they're so dull that oncoming drivers hardly notice it. I get flashed all the time but I know they're set correctly. The self levelling aspect isn't instantaneous as the levelling is done by sensors/linkage on the front suspension.

 

Having now got a Rexton, the first thing on the list is to change the projector halogen bulbs to a HIDs kit :ph34r: .

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Having had factory fit bi-xenon front lights on our Insignia, the difference at night is literally "night and day". Given the choice, I'd never go back to halogen bulbs, the difference is that great. As for dazzling oncoming drivers, our bi-xenons were adjusted correctly and I got them checked on a beam setter at an MOT station. There can be situations when say on an undulating road where the beam can "bounce". This isn't usually an issue with halogen bulbs as they're so dull that oncoming drivers hardly notice it. I get flashed all the time but I know they're set correctly. The self levelling aspect isn't instantaneous as the levelling is done by sensors/linkage on the front suspension.

 

Having now got a Rexton, the first thing on the list is to change the projector halogen bulbs to a HIDs kit :ph34r: .

 

The problem is though that that flash at you is saying 'I can't see!'

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I have the LED lights on my Volvo and they have a system which bends light around vehicles in front either coming or going away. They are very fast to react and up to now have not had anyone flash at me . They are fantastic lights for dark conditions and the auto system uses dipped beam when in areas with street lights. I would not want to go back to ordinary Halogen lights especially now that a lot of councils are turning the street lights off at certain times of the night.

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