You’ve seen blue headlights on the road, and chances are, you’ve probably been temporarily blinded by them at least once or twice—especially on a very dark, wet street.
While blue headlights may look sleeker and more elegant than traditional halogen bulbs, are they actually safer? Are there any actual benefits to having blue headlights?
Read on for the answers, plus much more.
Old vs. New Headlights
For many years, drivers had one option for headlights: halogen bulbs. They have worked well, but there’s always room for improvement.
Now, there are several different types of headlights available to drivers:
- Light-emitting diodes (LED)
- High-intensity discharge (HID)
- Xenon HID
The newer options like LED, HID, and Xenon HID bulbs are more efficient than halogen bulbs and emit more light. But does that make them safer?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), HID bulbs provide “longer forward-visibility distances than halogen headlamps.” However, HID headlights also produce significantly higher levels of disability and discomfort glare to oncoming drivers than halogen bulbs.
Since HID bulbs produce more light than halogen lamps, they tend to have a more significant negative impact on oncoming traffic, which can easily lead to accidents.
According to Consumer Reports, LED headlights can produce a brighter, whiter light than halogens, but according to the non-profit’s studies, the lamps don’t provide greater visibility to drivers. In addition:
“With LEDs and HIDs, manufacturers are having a hard time balancing casting enough light down the road without causing glare to oncoming drivers because of their intensity. Many oncoming drivers mistakenly think an oncoming vehicle has its high beams on, when in reality the car just has LEDs or HIDs.”
Blue Headlights Pose Dangers to Drivers
Even though blue headlights tend to produce a brighter, whiter light than traditional halogen bulbs, is it really worth blinding oncoming drivers?
There have yet to be any widespread federal updates to headlight safety standards regarding blue headlights, but that could eventually change as more information becomes available.
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