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AAA World Article

Shedding Light

Are your headlights bright enough for your liking?

AAA World Article

Q: We just purchased a 2019 car, which we really like, except for its headlights. They don’t seem to be bright enough, but the dealer says there is nothing wrong with them. Is there anything we can do?

A: Just as there are differences in fuel economy, comfort and performance among various vehicles, some cars have headlights that are much better than others. Unfortunately, many cars fall short; in fact, the folks at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) note that “few vehicles have headlights that do their job well.” Visit the IIHS website at iihs.org to see how your car fared in the testing.

Unfortunately, there is probably little that is practical for you to do to improve the factory-installed headlights. If your car has halogen lighting, you may want to consider switching bulbs. If your car came with LED or high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, however, your options are likely limited. Any upgrades would undoubtedly be costly, and while there are ways to modify these lights, some of these changes may not be legal.

Also, keep in mind that as we age, we require more light to see at night. Studies show that 60-year-olds need at least three times the light as a typical 20-year-old to see well between dusk and dawn, and our ability to resist glare also diminishes as we age. Any lighting upgrades should be undertaken with great care; you would not want to blind oncoming drivers in your effort to see better at night.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2019 edition of AAA World.


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