Survey shows that modern car headlights temporarily blinds drivers

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The RAC Opinion Panel survey of 2,061 motorists found that 58% of motorists think modern vehicle headlights are so bright they risk causing other motorists to have accidents.

The research also indicates some motorists have suffered a near-miss as a result of being dazzled by modern headlights that they believe are too bright. Previously, it was not unusual for older drivers to complain about sight difficulties when driving at night due to glare from headlights, however, the RAC findings confirm that modern headlights pose a challenge to drivers of all ages.

When approached by a car whose lights are dazzlingly bright, it often takes drivers some time for their eyesight to adjust. The average time for this recovery being between five to seconds. Five seconds may sound negligible, but for a driver moving at 60 mph(approximately 97 kmh) five seconds is enough time to cover 134m. This is a recipe for disaster considering the driver will be temporarily blinded for that distance.

Additionally, another concern of drivers who encounter cars with very bright lights is that at places like road junctions they are unable to tell if the oncoming car is turning or not since the indicators are overpowered by the headlights.

Conclusively, the survey highlights the fact that the bright headlights do a great job in increasing visibility for the driver of the vehicle but this is at the expense of the safety of other road users. Not unsurprisingly, 80% of respondents felt that it is necessary to have stringent regulation in place to block manufacturers fitting vehicles with headlights that are too bright.

Click here for more on the survey.

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