Bright headlights are a problem for many drivers – the headlights from the front blind you and you have to squint to even see the road, while headlights from behind hit the side mirrors and interior rear view mirrors, and blind us. At least, now we know this problem is not unique to India – drivers in the US are complaining too!
Autoblog says that some people do not even drive when it’s dark due to this issue.
Bright LED headlights are taking away all pleasure of night driving, and even making such drives dangerous these days. According to the story, there are three reasons why this is happening more and more. We think we have an additional reason or two in India though.
Tall vehicles shine their headlights into low vehicles
The United States car buyers are buying more and more SUVs and pickup trucks. these are obviously tall vehicles, and even when all regulations are met, they easily shine into the mirrors of the less tall vehicles – sedans or hatchbacks – that are driving in front of them.
Is this true for India? Yes. While we are not buying vehicles as tall as the ones bought by Americans, we too are buying taller vehicles. Small SUVs like the Maruti Brezza, Hyundai Venue, Kia Sonet, Tata Nexon etc are very popular. Taller SUVs like the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos, Tata Harrier, Mahindra XUV700 and Scorpio N are also selling like hot cakes.
Blue-white light is harsher on the eyes
The second reason are LED headlights which are commonplace now, which produce a blue-white light. The blue-white light – even when not powerful – are harsher on human eyes compared to the warm yellow of earlier lights. We see this problem in India too now – as almost all cars offer LED light fitted variants which are highly popular. LED lights, even on two wheelers, are harsh on the eyes. So the amount of light emited could be the same as a yellow light, but the blue-white light feels a lot harsher. You may want to scrunch up your eyes on even blink when the blue-white light of LEDs hits your eyes.
According to the Autoblog story, two-thirds of cars had at least one headlight that was either “aimed too high up, which creates a lot of glare for other drivers, or too far down, which limits their visibility.”
Proper aligning of headlights is hardly something that drivers bother about in India, so we can imagine how bad it might be over here!
What are India-specific problems with LED lights?
Bad driving etiquette is one. Most drivers do not switch to low beams when there are vehicles coming towards them. Professional drivers in India used to do this a lot earlier, but we have lost that habit. The average driver may not even be aware of the benefits of doing this to other drivers.
Traffic jams and more compact SUVs, large SUVs. At a traffic jam or slow moving trafffic, the SUV stuck behind a hatchback or sedan would be shining its blue-white LED headlights right into the interior and outside rear view mirrors of the poor driver in front.
Single lane roads. Many of our roads do not have road dividers and are single lane. This means we are often facing another driver who is coming towards us, and shining his lights into our eyes.
The India-specific problems can be solved with better driving manners, driver education by the MVD, and strict implementation. Better driving manners may result if the government decides to educate drivers on proper usage of headlights.