Headlights - milkyjoe
hi, is it me or are headlights getting dangerously bright, especially on country backroads when your eyes are adjusted to the darkness ,tonight whilst waiting at a set of traffic lights in the middle of nowhere a car pulled up behind me and im sure he had full beam on cause it was like daylight in my motor and the skin on the back of my neck was starting to melt....comments please, mj

Edited by Pugugly {P} on 30/11/2007 at 22:31

headlights - mss1tw
I've thought this for a while.

But hey someone in a lab somewhere has said it's OK so it must be.
headlights - bell boy
just wear your summer shades at all times like the LAPD
headlights - Bromptonaut
Local road "improvements" mean I've revised my drive t/f station and spend longer on back lanes. Glad I'm not alone in finding HID and similar lights symptomatic of the "I'm allright Jack - stuff you" view of shared facilities.
headlights - Ruperts Trooper
It's all these HID/Xenon headlights being fitted to expensive (and other) cars - they may have levelling, either chassis or headlamp, and washers but in reality road undulations cause these exceedingly bright lights to shine in oncoming drivers' eyes.

The situation isn't helped by rogue after-fitments of HID headlamps or bulbs which usually don't have the levelling of factory-fit.
headlights - Doc
a car pulled up behind me and im sure
he had full beam on cause it was like daylight in my motor

I'm lucky. On my car I have a switch, so that I am able to turn my headlights off when waiting in a queue. Most cars don't seem to have this feature.

headlights - L'escargot
On my car I have a switch so that I am able to
turn my headlights off when waiting in a queue. Most cars don't seem to have
this feature.

Most drivers don't have the courtesy to do it ~ they used to at one time but not any more. Just like they don't have the courtesy to switch off dipped beam when stationary at the head of the queue at traffic lights.
headlight courtesy - bell boy
Just reading where doc dips his lights at stationary traffic jams and i had a thought

If i am the lead car at lets say temporary traffic lights and my headlights are shining towards the vehicles that have right of way, then i always put my lights on sidelight ,so that the other traffic can see where they are going safely without being blinded.

am i alone?

Post moved in here to join the current debate - no need to post separately.

Edited by Pugugly {P} on 30/11/2007 at 22:23

headlight courtesy - Doc
am i alone?

No! This is good, courteous and intelligent driving.

headlight courtesy - gordonbennet
Strangely enough i was thinking this on the way home tonight in the car.

Glad its not only me, thought me eyes were getting funny in my old age.

Absolutely bombarded by unbelievably powerful lights, supplemented by the fogs that are essential when your travelling 20 feet from the r send of my car, mind you supplements my lights as i'm travelling about 100 feet from the car in front.

Glad there are still some courteous ones out there who can drop to side lights when stuck behind stationary, or as BB at the front of roadworks.

Think we may be the last few dinosaurs.

Dont fret lads there may be a mist sometime this winter so get ready to have the extra dazzling red lights left on for the rest of the winter.
headlight courtesy - piggy
Glad its not only me thought me eyes were getting funny in my old age.>>

Actually,I think there is an age-related issue here. I find it much more difficult to drive at night than I used to in the far off days of my youth. My friends of the same age admit to the same problem. I do wear glasses and get my eyes tested regulary,but I seem to recall reading somewhere that the over sixties need twice the light intensity to read that they needed when younger.
hurrying on- to a receding future
headlight courtesy - Altea Ego
you are breaking the law tho.
< Ulla>
headlight courtesy - Robin Reliant
I always drop to sidelights if I am waiting at roadworks and am the lead vehicle. I too find extra bright lights irritating, they are un-nescessary and cause problems for everyone else.

The people who REALLY get on my nerves are the muppets who pull up on the right hand side of the road and sit stationary with their headlights still on. If there is no other traffic I always slow right down and flip onto full beam and fogs, heading directly at them for as long as I can. Childishly stupid, but such fun and I feel so much better afterwards.
headlight courtesy - pd
From the law point of view, there is now no such thing as sidelights. They are parking lights and legally that is all they should ever be used for. We used to have dim-dip but the EU stopped that.

Can't honestly say I have any problems with HID lights at all. If anything, I find them less of a problem than normal Halogens.

As for Halogens, nearly all use the same H1, H4 or H7 55w bulbs that have been around for decades so the power of the light source has not changed since the 70's. Headlight design may have improved so more of the light gets out but the basic power is the same.

I think the bigger problem is probably maladjusted lights. A lot of people also have their lights far too low. A properly adjusted dipped light should be quite easy to drive on at sensible speeds even outside of lit areas. Adjustment is critital - too low and you lose valuable beam length - too high and you blind everyone and they're no longer pointing at the road. 1% either way is enough to lose the effectivness.

My journey home in the evening is along about 10 miles of unlit country but busy road. I regularly get stuck behind people who simply cannot see where they are going because their lights are only illuminating about 5m in front of the car!
headlight courtesy - GroovyMucker
I think the problem is those lights which seem to be exceptionally bright pinpricks. I presume they're useful for the driver of the other car, but I find it hard to judge distance with them.

headlight courtesy - Doc
From the law point of view there is now no such thing as sidelights. They
are parking lights and legally that is all they should ever be used for.

Sorry, not correct.
It is a common misconception that headlights are required at all times of darkness.

Highway Code:

* use headlights at night, except on a road which has lit street lighting. These roads are generally restricted to a speed limit of 30 mph (48 km/h) unless otherwise specified

Lighting Regs. 1989 :

Requirements about the use of headlamps and front fog lamps
(1) Save as provided in paragraph (2), no person shall use, or cause or permit to be used, on a road a vehicle which is fitted with obligatory dipped-beam headlamps unless every such lamp is kept lit-

(a) during the hours of darkness, except on a road which is a restricted road for the purposes of section 81 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 by virtue of a system of street lighting when it is lit.

(My bold)

headlight courtesy - Mad Maxy
Well said, PD. IMO headlights aren't getting more of a problem.

Maladjusted beams have always been a problem.

Doughbrains using fogs and dipped headlightss ARE an increasing problem.

Night driving gets more difficult with age.
Headlights - doctorchris
Latest edition of Auto Express reviewed h'lamp bulbs, a real eye opener. There is a huge range of difference between bulbs from different suppliers and they frequently had to adjust the h'lamp setting when they put in new bulbs.
I don't think we should blame Xenon bulbs as a kind of forum reflex.
Lots of reasons for poor h'lamp aim.
Headlights - pd
Fair enough on the regs, but parking lights on cars these days are so dim as to be useless on the move and I would maintain that anyone who does not use dipped when on the move either when dark or in poor visibility is an idiot.
Headlights - Hamsafar
look how many foreign numberplates you see during the day, since the government opened the borders. I bet that's the same number of dazzling PhD headlights at night.
Headlights - billy25
Ban main beam and front fogs says I !
no more dazzle problems, = less accidents.
If its dark/foggy and folk cant see too clearly, too far ahead, they wont be inclined to drive too fast = less speed = less accidents.

Headlights - Pugugly {P}
Adaptive lighting on the Roomster is annoying other drivers - good, they don't understand !!
Headlights - Lud
What is adaptive lighting PU?

Does the Roomster dip automatically when it thinks it may dazzle an oncomer, but switch quickly back to glaring main beam - more quickly than you could do it yourself - if the other driver doesn't dip pronto?

Headlights - hillman
I find the same problem. It helps to make sure that the inside of the windscreen is perfectly clean. New cars tend to exude plastic fumes which condense on the screen to leave a film that can't be seen in normal light, but is instantly noticeable in strong sunlight and bright headlights coming your way. Heaven forbid that any BRer smokes at the wheel but that forms a worse film.
Headlights - Pugugly {P}
Cornering Front fog lights actually steer around corners. This considerably reduces the dangers of driving around corners at night. Hazards are illuminated as the car turns into a corner allowing the driver to react quicker and avoid potential accidents

Above from the Skoda website.....

Optional extras on the Scout, but well worth it in dodgy weather. As I say will raise the hackles if the uninformed.
Headlights - Lud
Some DS Citroens had them, and perhaps other elaborate devices.
Headlights - Altea Ego
Indeed - I loved driving my fathers fully loaded DS. The steering lights were superb
< Ulla>
Headlights - BobbyG
PU, out of curiosity, I take it these only work when you have the fog lights on or does the fog light come on when you take a certain angle of corner?

Recently I was watching a motoring program, can't remember which one, and the car kept having only one fog light coming on and off - with hindsight maybe it was cornering lights?
2007 Seat Altea XL 2.0 TDI (140) Stylance
2005 Skoda Fabia vrS
Headlights - BobbyG
I have seen a few S Maxes and they seem to have their "sidelights" within the front fog lights ie the fogs are lit up but not very bright and the main headlamps are not lit at all.

Is that standard or some owners tinkering with the system?
2007 Seat Altea XL 2.0 TDI (140) Stylance
2005 Skoda Fabia vrS
Headlights - gmac
Cornering Front fog lights actually steer around corners.

Downside, as a biker, is I lose my reference point for the corner as I now have a face full of HID/foglight and you lose me in the HID's of the car following me.

I have noticed on the bike that riding towards a car with HIDs I wish I could use my tinted visor but that's only allowed for 'daylight use'. My eyesight is still 20/20 but I get blinded by the sharp blue light.

Edited by Dynamic Dave on 01/12/2007 at 23:24

Headlights - pleiades
re steering headlights I remember in the 60's every rally car featured a movable spotlight mounted on the roof aimed from inside the car but I understand they were eventually banned as apparently illegal to have 'movable' lights also remember some comments about it when the DS Citroens featured it- presume the law changed or just conveniently overlooked? -
Headlights - Doc
re steering headlights I remember in the 60's every rally car featured a movable spotlight
mounted on the roof aimed from inside the car but I understand they were eventually
banned as apparently illegal to have 'movable' lights also remember some comments about it when
the DS Citroens featured it- presume the law changed or just conveniently overlooked? -

Movable headlights are allowed, but not roof spotlights:

Movement of lamps and reflectors:
12(1) Save as provided in paragraph (2), no person shall use, or cause or permit to be used, on a road any vehicle to which, or to any load or equipment of which, there is fitted a lamp, reflector or marking which is capable of being moved by swivelling, deflecting or otherwise while the vehicle is in motion.

(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply in respect of-

(a) a headlamp which can be dipped only by the movement of the headlamp or its reflector;

(b) a headlamp which is capable of adjustment so as to compensate for the effect of the load carried by the vehicle;

(c) a lamp or reflector which can be deflected to the side by the movement of, although not necessarily through the same angle as, the front wheel or wheels of the vehicle when turned for the purpose of steering the vehicle;

Headlights - Bill Payer
Interesting (for older readers) study here:
Headlights - ijws15
Reminds me of a driver I came across in RSA in 1980. Had the courtesy to turn off his headlamps when behind me. And this was miles from no-where near the Swaziland border under starlight - no moon, absolutely breathtaking when we stopped to look up!

The surprising thing was that I was travelling at up to 90mph and he was following me using MY headlights to see where he was going!
Headlights - Cliff Pope
Have the rules on the angle of dip for dipped headlamps been changed? I remember when dipped headlights were supposed to point down at the road so that the beam pinpoint was no more than 25 yards in front of the car, and angled down towards the left. So a dipped light could only dazzle oncoming traffic in those rare circumstances like a hump-back bridge.

That corresponded to the main beam being parallel to the road at full load.
Headlights - moulder
My 300c has HID bulbs.

They are very focussed, with a very distinct border to the beam pattern. If following a car at 30mph normal distance it just about lights up their rear number plate, no higher and certiainly not high enough to light up the inside of the car. There is a much wider area of throw onto the nearside kerb, lighting up a big area on that side of the car. On the off side of the vehicle it drops down to virtually nothing by the time it reaches the centerline of the road.

The bulbs continually adjust their levels (as is required on all hid cars) and this is noticeable if you watch the beam pattern on the back of a car that you are pulling up to a stop behind. They only can move as fast as the motors though and that is no faster than a manual in car adjustment type. Therefore its not fast enough to react to a bump in the road, just really for different loads or inclines.

Having said that although the lense focuses most of the beam into that pattern, light does escape in other directions and because the bulbs are so bright, I know this irritates people. This is when you see the blue hue (when outside of the beam pattern). The bulbs will only appear blue if you are in the beam pattern during the first 30 seconds or so of operation as the xenon gas warms up. once hot, its very very white. Therefore in my experience if you see blue you're outside of the beam pattern and they are adjusted properly.

I dont like them very much if im being honest. ok they look pretty if your not blinded from them, but the intense light makes the irises in your eyes close up and you see much less in the shadows which i think is dangerous.
Headlights - Muggy
I would say headlights are indeed becoming too bright.

And dazzling isn't the only hazard - I have noticed that people with the brighter lights also tend to drive faster, presumably because they can see further?

And don't get me started on the people who keep on full beam 100% of the time...
Headlights - Pugugly {P}
Arguably one of the sillier thing I did was driving with NVGs and no lights
Headlights - grumpyscot
I've often been tailed by a Lexus that has headlights so bright that oncoming traffic flashes, and I've even had to stop to let him overtake, as his lights were so blinding.

Was in XXXXX one day, and same car was in for an MOT - XXXXXX failed it because the headlights were aftermarket and didn't have auto levelling. Driver said - "Funny, the police said the same thing when they stopped me last week, but I paid YYYYY £300 for these lights. Turned out, it was a job on the side.

He's back to conventional lights again - thank heavens.

But how come the most dazzling lights belong to Merc, BMW, Range Rover and Porsche Cayennes?
Headlights - Lud
When you are sitting at the lights in your small car and a Range Rover or Cayenne stops behind you, its dipped lights shine down through the rear window of your car from a great height and illuminate the interior of your car poostains and all. It is a result of some cars being much bigger and higher off the ground than others. There's no escape.
Headlights - rtj70
I've noticed some cars (non HID) have very bright lights since I no longer have an auto dimming rear view mirror anymore. Brighter than even oncoming cars. And it's obvious... they are on full beam. One following me tonight had one normal looking light and one really bright.

We will probably find their bulbs have gone and they are stupid enough to think "oh I cannot see" and instead of checking bulbs use the full main beam lights instead.
Headlights - Pugugly {P}
"auto dimming rear view mirror"

My most missed gadget from my BMW - still compiling a list but it does include,

Memory Seats
Radar Cruise
Bluetooth kit....
Headlights - Hamsafar
ALL of the lights I have had problems with are halogens, it's time they were banned and all new cars should have the far-superior HIDs.
Headlights - Lud
on full beam. One following me tonight had one normal looking light and
one really bright.

I don't know whether this thread has sensitised me to these matters, but on the way to Camden Town and back this evening I saw two or three cars with one light on sidebulb only and the other shining straight in your face... If plod were at large these days they would pull these people and make them get the lights aligned (or whatever). Perhaps there really is a case for a sort of traffic version of community plod, put your name in the book and give you five days to get the adjustments done...
Headlights - henry k
How many cars have a headlight ( or any of their lights ) fail in the three years from new until the first MoT?
IIRC there is a proposal to have the first MoT when a car is four years old so that will hardly improve things.

The EU could do something useful like making it mandatory for easy, tool less access to change bulbs without needing tiny hands.
Front fog lights, of course, should have main dealer only access. ;-)
Headlights - rustbucket
UP until about 6 years ago I very rarely had to replace a single lamp on any of my company cars, now I replace headlamp bulbs approx 18 months and a tail lamp about 2 years.I am still doing the same annual milage so same amount of time lights are on so it would appear lamps are made less robust (or cheaper) than they were.I have just had the citroen c5 headlamps replaced at approx cost of two hours labour(paid for by the lease company.
rustbucket (the original)
Headlights - Cliff Pope
It is a result of some cars being much bigger and higher off the
ground than others. There's no escape.

I thought there were regulations governing headlamp heights? If not, why not?
Headlights - Muggy
That reminds me of another gripe - newer models which have indicators so close to the headlights that you can't see the indicators working.

That's assuming the driver has the manners to use them in the first place...
Headlights - SlidingPillar
Yup, it's all part of the car designers attitude ot making a car look 'cool' while completely neglecting the fact that other road users might like to see what the driver is doing.

Don't know the make but there is one new car whose rear indicator is a circle around the rear light and inside the brake light. After dark if a driver of one of these brakes then indicates, it's not exactly obvious due to the glare from the brake light.

Not so bothered about the light from HIDs that is going the right way, but so many cars with these things can't keep up with the road level changes, one is forever being flashed the off-axis light, which appears blue (I'm not sure it really is, but the colour temperature is much higher than almost anything else after dark).
Headlights - daveyjp
It's also been proven that where the indicator is located inside the headlight - i.e. towards the centre of the car it takes longer to be noticed.
Headlights - Altea Ego
All cars should have front fog lamps fitted as manadatory, and wired so they are permanently on when the engine is running just so you lot get used to the idea.
< Ulla>
Headlights - Ed V
Why did round-the-corner lights not continue? Were they too expensive or simply a gimick with no genuine benefit, except in theory?
Headlights - DP
I recall reading about headlights that are made up of hundreds of ultra bright "pixels" that can be turned on and off by computer. The theory is that main beam can be left permanently engaged, and when sensors detect an oncoming vehicle, the relevant pixels can be deactivated and reactivated as appropriate as the vehicle moves through the beam pattern, so that the driver doesn't get dazzled. They had a prototype system rigged up on a BMW 1 series which apparently worked really well.

Thought it looked cool. Wish I could remember where I'd read it.

04 Grand Scenic 1.9 dCi Dynamique
00 Mondeo 1.8TD LX
Headlights - Bilboman
Round-the-corner lights are alive and well in a lot of new cars. Vauxhall Astra, Renault Modus, Fiat Brava, Citroën C6, Fords, Audis,.. .
The original system used in teh Citroën DS and SM was mechanically linked rather than electrical and hence less reliable.
It has to be one of the few genuinely useful and intelligent car accessories of recent years.
Headlights - likerocks
I would wholeheartedly agree that there are a lot of drivers & cars out there with poorly adjusted headlights. However, I reckon that HID headlamps are by no means the worst offenders. The problem is that they stand out from the crowd and tend to draw your eye - and that's where I think the problem lies. If you stare at headlamps in the mirror / coming from the other direction because you're concerned that they may dazzle you, then they inevitably will. Its another instance of when being a grumpy old man makes only you unhappy and has no affect on the outside world.

I think when I received my driver education around 10 years ago (think I was one of the first to sit a theory test), there was absolutely no mention of any regulation or guideline to switch off headlights when queuing. I don't consider myself to be particularly ignorant or impolite, but it would really never occur to me. I've never seen anyone else do it either. Is it some relic of driver behaviour from days gone by - perhaps when cars on the road were few and far between?!
Headlights - Bilboman
If I can be bothered and if I remember, I switch to sidelights, but it's such an unusual action - a bit like letting a BMW or white van pull out! - that it tends to disconcert other drivers, who sometimes think I'm stopping there to park.
However, I always switch to sidelights if I'm at the front of a queue of traffic at the junction of a busy road, and especially if my car is pointing up- or downhill. I know that the brief burst of light when driving past a car at right angles can be disconcerting.
However, as my driving instructor used to say - if the sun's in your eyes, you can't move the sun;you can only move your eyes. Expect the unexpected, move your line of sight and never be driving so fast that a sudden burst of dipped beam can disorientate you!
Headlights - Kingpin
What about in France? Do French cars still have yellow headlight bulbs. I remember when I was there last about 20+ years on holiday every car had them, presumably to stop dazzle as they give off a softer light. I wonder if this is still the case there?
Think it was the bulbs that were coloured, wonder if you can get French H7 or H4 bulbs for UK and fit them.
Headlights - Roger Jones
"Don't know the make but there is one new car whose rear indicator is a circle around the rear light and inside the brake light. After dark if a driver of one of these brakes then indicates, it's not exactly obvious due to the glare from the brake light."

These are Golfs, mk V and later (if they exist yet). I reckon they are dangerous. Which prompts me to ask for the name of the relevant authority to whom to send a report of the problem -- anyone know?
Headlights - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}
May be detailed marking on the lens which will tell you indirectly who approved the unit.
This could provide a follow up path.

Why not write to VW politely; tell them that you are fascinated by the design process and wonder who gives the legal approval to new designs?

Few one head light cars at present but a lot with one high/one low .
Headlights - AlastairW
Yellow lights are supposed to be better in fog - thats why the Frenchies fitted them. However, because of European harmonisation it is now illegal for the French to insist on their fitment, so they dont get fitted.

Edited by AlastairW on 06/12/2007 at 18:00

Headlights - Bromptonaut
The only French cars with yellow headlights are old ones.

Slight nostalgia for applying yellow paint as well as the beam diverters.

Going back even earlier we had self coloured yellow diverters clipped over the headlights on Dad's Hillman Hunter!!
Headlights - grumpyscot
Colleague at work and a (nearside) headlight and (ofside) tail-light out. Thought I'd mention it on the stroll in from the car park. He said he'd been quoted 3 months ago for a new headlight bulb - £150+ (BMW 3 series), so had decided not to bother, since the offside headlight was bright enough.

He got stopped on the way home that evening, breathalysed and, you've guessed it - just over the limit.
Headlights - Pugugly {P}

Value my car