Headlights vs. Collision Repair (Part 1)

Do you have a late model vehicle or are you looking to purchase a new car, SUV or truck? Most consumers Car Evaluationassume a recently manufactured vehicle is safe. This assumption is reasonable after all the vehicle is equipped with airbags, seat restraints and other options like back up cameras. Take a moment to think about your vehicle test drive. Did you drive the vehicle at night before you made the decision to purchase? Headlights are an equally important safety feature. Isn’t the objective to avoid injury and collision repair?

Who Evaluates Headlight Performance?

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety or IIHS found that just over half of 2018 model vehicles are equipped with headlights that do an adequate job of lighting the road in the dark and limiting glare from oncoming cars.

They also found that most good rated headlights are optional or bundled with an option package that increases the cost of the vehicle at the time of purchase.

Consumers shouldn’t have to buy a fully loaded vehicle to get the headlights they need to safely drive at night,” says David Taylor manager of active safety testing at IIHS. “All new vehicles should come with good headlights.

In 2016 IIHS released its first headlight evaluation. The institute evaluated 95 models and only 2 earned a good rating. Today most manufacturers are working toward improving this important safety item to help increase driver safety and reduce the need for collision repair.

Quick Headlight Rating Facts: (Remember there are various headlights available for many models)

Car - Chevrolet Spark

  • In 2018 model year, the best available headlights on 32 out of 165 models earned the highest rating of good. 58 models earned acceptable. 32 have only marginal ratings and 43 models only offer one kind of headlight which rated poor.
  • IIHS engineers tested 424 variants on 2018 models. 67% earned a marginal or poor rating because of poor visibility, excessive glare from low beams for oncoming vehicles, or both.
  • Only two 2018 vehicle models had headlights rated good no matter the option package: Genesis G90, a large luxury sedan, and the Lexus NX, a midsize luxury SUV.
  • These headlights also rated good, but you had to purchase the 2018 model with the best available headlight: Chevy Volt, Genesis G80, Mercedes-Benz E Class, and Toyota Camry.

Check out how your vehicle’s headlight rate: https://www.iihs.org

IIHS 2 minute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=076KX1OQjh4

A Prime Example:

A high-end Hyundai, Kona (small SUV) rated good with LED projector headlights. It illuminated about 450 feet on the right side of the roadway in the straightaway test for low beams. However, the base model equipped with halogen projector low beams illuminated only 220 feet in the same test. According to the data from IIHS, there are a total of 17 model vehicles that produced the same data.

The preferred illumination is 325 feet to the right of the straightaway. This amount of illumination allows a driver enough time to spot an obstacle on the road and safely come to a stop. Preventing driver injury and collision repair.

Did You Know?

Information about cars

LED headlights are preferred to Halogen? In a car with halogen lights, you would actually need to drive 25 mph slower to have enough time to react and avoid a collision.


Possible Changes Ahead:Vehicle Changes

A possible change to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard or FMVSS for headlights would allow vehicle manufacturers to start utilizing adaptive driving beam headlights in the cars, trucks, and SUV’s they sell in the United States. This technology is similar to high-beam assist. Except, instead of switching the high beams on and off, they continuously adjust the high beam pattern to create a shadow around other vehicles. This results in high beam visibility without creating the glare for oncoming vehicles. Adaptive driving beams are used in Europe and Japan but are currently prohibited in the United States.

FMVSS is currently looking into performance standards and compliance tests for adaptive driving beam headlights.

The push for adaptive driving beam headlights is due to an increase in pedestrian deaths and injuries. An IIHS study showed a 56% rise in pedestrian deaths in the dark from 2009 to 2016. Resulting in both injury and collision repair.

Clearly, the move towards improved headlight performance will benefit all drivers and pedestrians on the road. Whether you are in the market to buy a new vehicle or not, please view the IIHS link and view headlight ratings. Armed with information you can decrease your risk of a collision. In the event that you are in need of collision repair please visit us at Airpark Collision Center or click for a quick estimate!

Airpark Collision Center

Tina Small has been part of the Airpark Collision Center team since 2006. Working directly with customers, her goal is to share frequent customer questions, and proper methods of collision repair.