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IIHS Drops First Headlight Rating List

Frisky Dingo

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But the ratings above don’t paint the entire picture. IIHS is scoring every possible headlight combination that is available on the cars, so different trims of the same car can vary widely in lighting performance. While the Prius v comes available with different headlight options, it specifically earns a “Good” rating when equipped with LED lights and high beam assist. To get this equipment, drivers must opt for the advanced tech package. When equipped with regular halogen lights and no high beam assist, the Prius v actually gets a “Poor” rating. "


This is what I was wondering as I started reading. My Escape is an example of this. The base model has your standard halogen bulbs and then option up to the HIDs with the cornering lights that come on as you turn the steering wheel. I'm glad it is actually acknowledged that cars come with different lighting packages as you option them up so just saying "Prius" scored the highest is vague and not telling of the full story. 

Edited by ccap41
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I think this has been a long time coming. In a world of back-up cameras, lane-departure warnings, cross-traffic alert, and everything damn thing else, it boggles my mind how many cars squeak by with crap headlights. Hopefully reports like this will motivate the powers-that-be to loosen up regs and let some of the new lighting technologies we're seeing elsewhere be legal here.

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IIHS says there’s one thing drivers can do to immediately improve visibility: turn on the high beams.


This pretty much sums up my take on their take. 


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I'm feeling resistance to suddenly rating headlights in this arena. Lighting in general is more powerful now than at any other time, ever, yet models that get saddled with 'poor' or 'marginal' are going feel marketing pressure to up & up & up headlight power. A few years of these headlight ratings (and the inevitable advertising usage) and cars are going to be blazing with atomic winter fire out the front. 

Now, if 'tech' properly manages the function/brightness (tho I am loathe to encourage needless complexity), there's a chance the aging U.S. driver population won't all be driving up the nearest tree/ guide wire/ center divider an hour after sunset.

You get what I'm saying? The standard keeps changing (ESPECIALLY with the IIHS rating system), yet the worst headlights today are likely better than those from the '90s. IE; it's a self-perpetuating, sliding scale that will always have "poor" and "marginal" lights that are only going to get brighter & brighter with each MCE/redesign.


Is it really necessary?

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The German cars have adaptive lighting and high beams that can curve around oncoming traffic so you can leave the high beams on in all driving situations.  Problem is they aren't allowed to sell it here because of our stupid laws.  So when the government limits what kind of lights a car can have, you get poor results.


They do talk about visibility and stopping distance.  But something like a BMW 3-series is going to have al to better braking than a Prius.  So that method of saying you can see X number of feet forward in the Prius, so the Prius is safest isn't necessarily true.  

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