Do High-Quality Headlights Prevent Car Accidents?

November 30, 2021

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you are three times more likely to get into a car accident at night than you are during the day. Yet, for many years, there were no federal regulations calling for better headlights. In 2016, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) added headlight performance to their rating systems. Evaluating almost 1,000 different headlight systems, the IIHS would organize and grade each based on how well they lit a road while traveling at 40 to 50 miles per hour. The IIHS would then grade these systems as poor, marginal, acceptable, or good.

Analyzing over 44,000 reported single-vehicle car accidents that happened at night, a study by the IIHS discovered the following:

  • Vehicles whose headlights earned a good rating were 20 percent less likely to be in a nighttime accident than those who had a poor rating.
  • Vehicles with a good headlight rating reduced injury to the driver by almost 30 percent.
  • Vehicles in the good class also reduced crashes where the vehicle is inoperable, as well as crashes that involved a pedestrian, by 25 percent.
  • Those with an acceptable rating had 15 percent fewer accidents than those with a poor rating, while marginal rated headlights had 10 percent fewer collisions.

When the IIHS first implemented these grades, only four percent of all vehicles had a good headlight rating. Last year, as these headlight grades were added to the IIHS award criteria, about 29 percent of all vehicles qualified.

What Types of Headlights Are Available?

It is important that you have effective headlights and learn about which ones are available to you. There are three different types of headlights used modern vehicles:

  • Halogen: Halogen bulbs are the most common and least expensive. Most vehicles on the road today have halogen bulbs equipped, and it has been this way for several decades. The average life span of a car’s halogen bulb typically ranges from 500 to 1,000 hours.
  • High-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs: HID bulbs are like fluorescent bulbs, and they illuminate a white, more efficient light compared to halogen bulbs. Vehicles with HID lights provide better visibility for the driver and other motorists as well as pedestrians.
  • Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs: LED lights are as bright as the common halogen bulb, but they are more powerful and more efficient. They do not require as much energy to operate as the other headlight systems.

Auto manufacturers are constantly redesigning their vehicles to include HID and LED lights, even though they are more expensive.

Delco Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Clients Injured in Nighttime Accidents

Even with improvements in headlights, nighttime accidents still happen. If you have been injured in a collision, you can contact our Delco car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. today. Call us at 610-565-3701 or fill out our online form to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.