More than half of UK drivers complain about being dazzled by oncoming car headlights


More than half of drivers in the UK complain about being dazzled by headlights from drivers coming the other way, with nine out of ten grumbling about the fact that beams from other vehicles are often too bright.

A new study by the RAC suggest there’s numerous reasons why dazzling bright lights are becoming a growing issue on our roads.

Some of the reasons might be that drivers are not adjusting or aligning their lights properly, new brighter bulbs are being used, there’s more high-riding SUVs on the road or it’s possibly down to individual driver eyesight.

Whatever the reason may be, the outcome can be dangerous, as Government data shows that about 300 collisions every year are related to dazzling headlights.

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More than half of UK drivers complain about being dazzled by oncoming car headlights. © Copyright Stephen McKay and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

A survey involving asking 1,250 UK drivers a number of questions, found that 54% thought they were being dazzled a lot more than they were a year ago.

According to the RAC, it’s estimated that around 1.6million drivers in the UK complain about being briefly blinded from the glare of oncoming headlights, based on 91% of the panel alleging that ‘some’ or ‘most’ car headlights are too bright.

Recent figures from the DfT shows that the number of people injured in accidents caused by a driver being dazzled by oncoming headlights has risen by 9% year-on-year to 392 in 2017, plus a further six people were killed.

Upon being asked how glare affected them, six out of 10 said they are regularly dazzled by oncoming headlights despite them being dipped, whilst a similar number (60%) were not able to decide if the headlights were lowered or on full beam.

Around 51% believed that ‘bluer’ xenon or the more modern LED headlights were the reason for being dazzled, however half of the panel confessed to not being able to tell the difference between the types of lights.

The most common reason is probably down to drivers not making sure they adjust their headlights correctly or they’ve been incorrectly aligned.

Nearly half (47%) of drivers fail to adjust their car headlights up or down, even when carrying different kinds of loads, whilst just over a quarter of drivers (26%) said they have suspected issues with a misaligned headlight.

As part of a vehicle’s MoT, headlamp aim is checked and this section of the test was strengthened in 2016.

Yet despite this being the case, figures obtained by the RAC from the DVSA show that 6% (around 1.6m vehicles) tested last year failed their MoT because of incorrect headlamp aim.

Spokesperson for the RAC, Mr Rod Dennis, said it was difficult to pinpoint the blame on one specific reason, however he did say that outdated standards for headlight bulbs, which haven’t changed in almost 60 years, is undoubtedly a problem.

Around 84% of drivers would like the UK Government to act, ensuring that the old regulations are updated to remove the prospect of glare being a result of modern technology.


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