Why are headlights so bright right now? The answer is that the technology and style of headlights have changed over the years.
Here’s what we know.
Headlight technology and style has changed: Slash Gear reported that headlights may seem brighter today due to a switch from halogen bulbs — which typically use a reflector to spread the light out — to LED lights that don’t use reflectors and end up giving off a brighter light.
Automakers have reportedly switched to LED lighting in car headlights in order to cause less strain on a car’s battery and to last longer than halogen lights.
Details: A study published in the SAE International Journal of Passenger Cars — Mechanical Systems found “that lamps with multiple bright and dark areas, such as LED lamps, were generally perceived to be brighter than a standard incandescent lamp with a more evenly illuminated lens.”
Though the new lighting technology in headlights also helps people see better while driving at night, some are saying the lighting has “become overpoweringly intense,” according to The New York Times.
Are headlights too bright these days? Many people have reported that the newer headlights in cars appear to be much brighter than old beams, according to Slate.
The issue was brought to the public’s attention in 2022 when General Motors began recalling 2010 to 2017 GMC Terrain models.
The Associated Press reported that “General Motors is recalling more than 740,000 small SUVs in the U.S. because the headlight beams can be too bright and cause glare for oncoming drivers.”
RAC reported that, of people polled on the issue who believe headlights are brighter these days, “a huge 64% think they risk causing other drivers to have collisions while two-in-three (67%) say they can’t tell if the headlights of oncoming cars are dipped or on full beam.”