It’s the law in Georgia to turn your car’s headlights on when it is dark outside or when there are poor weather conditions (i.e. rain, snow, fog, sleet, smoke, etc.). However even if your headlights are on, the amount of light supplied might not be as useful as you think.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently conducted a study on headlight performance for 2017 midsize SUVs and found that of the 37 vehicles tested 23 of them had headlights that were rated marginal or poor, 12 of them had headlights that were rated acceptable, and only two of them had headlights that were rated good. Of the 37 vehicles tested 19 were midsize SUVs and 18 were midsize luxury SUVs.
According to the IIHS, “Differences in bulb type, headlight technology and even something as basic as how the lights are aimed all affect the amount of useful light supplied.”
The IIHS just started including headlight performance into their rating process in 2016. When they evaluate headlights on a vehicle they measure the following:
- how far light is projected from a vehicle’s low beams and high beams as the vehicle travels straight and on curves
- the amount of glare in each scenario to make sure it isn’t excessive
What do headlight ratings mean for you? It’s essential for drivers to be able to see the road ahead, as well as any pedestrians, bicyclists or obstacles; therefore, how a vehicle’s headlights perform can impact one’s ability to drive. Poor headlights can lead to accidents, especially at night, because of a lack of depth perception created by headlights producing low visibility.
The IIHS reported that about half of traffic deaths occur either in the dark or at dawn or dusk. Most of these deaths possibly could have been avoided if the vehicles at issue had headlights that fell into the category of good or acceptable.
For the full list of midsize SUVs that the IIHS tested and their ratings visit: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/more-than-half-of-midsize-suv-headlights-tested-rate-marginal-or-poor