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Study: Night Vision Driving Difficulties May Actually Be Your Headlights

Approximately half of all traffic fatalities occur during the hours of dusk through dawn, when it is dark and visibility may be difficult. That is why it is so important to have good, working headlights on your vehicle. But a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that the headlights on most vehicles just are not bright enough.

In its first headlight study, the IIHS rated a total of 82 headlights for 2016 models of mid-size vehicles. There are actually only 31 models, however, many of these vehicles are designed with different combinations of headlights.

The tests were conducted on a track located at the IIHS Research Center. All tests were performed after dark. A special device which can measure light from both low beams and high beams was used. Measurements were taken from five different angles: as the vehicle was driving straight, as it took a sharp left curve, a sharp right curve, a gradual left curve, and a gradual right curve. The device also is able to measure the glare emitting from oncoming vehicles at the low beam setting.

Only one model – the Toyota Prius v – received a rating of good. Eleven models received a rating of acceptable. These models included:

  • Audi A3
  • Honda Accord 4-door
  • Infiniti Q50
  • Lexus ES
  • Lexus IS
  • Mazda 6
  • Nissan Maxima
  • Subaru Outback
  • Volkswagen CC
  • Volkswagen Jetta
  • Volvo S60

Surprisingly, many of the luxury models of vehicles received ratings of either marginal or poor for their headlights. The marginal ratings were given to:

  • Acura TLX
  • Audi A4
  • BMW 2 series
  • BMW 3 series
  • Chrysler 200
  • Ford Fusion
  • Lincoln MKZ
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Toyota Camry

Vehicles which received the Institute’s lowest rating of poor for their headlights were:

  • Buick Verano
  • Cadillac ATS
  • Chevrolet Malibu 
  • Chevrolet Malibu Limited
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Kia Optima
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA
  • Nissan Altima
  • Volkswagen Passat

In North Carolina, drivers are required to turn on their headlights from sunset to sunrise. They are also required to turn on their lights if conditions restrict visibility to 400 feet or less or whenever windshield wipers are being used because of inclement weather.

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver, contact a skilled North Carolina personal injury attorney to find out what legal options you may have. Our injury firm also offers a free car accident injury guide, which covers topics such as what damages can be claimed, how much a claim may be worth, and how passenger injury cases are different.

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