New Headlights For Americans: Why Safety Tech Should be Mandatory in All Cars

New Headlights For Americans: Why Safety Tech Should be Mandatory in All CarsIt seems the government was listening to us when we talked about how dangerous bright headlights are because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is rolling out a new rule that will allow for adaptive headlights to be used on the highway. We welcome this rule with great anticipation.

That means fewer of those blinding headlights on the road. While this is great news for all of us, it shouldn’t be so difficult to get safe technology put into every car on the market. Rear cameras, lane assist, and crash avoidance technology (and more!) should be a base feature in all vehicles, as safety should be our top priority when manufacturing new vehicles.

How will these new headlights work?

We’ve all been there: for whatever reason, you’re out driving at night. Perhaps you went to see a movie, went out to dinner, or are picking someone up from the airport. As you’re driving down the road, a car driving in the opposite lane, or in your rear-view mirror, blinds you with those stupidly bright headlights. You wonder if maybe they have their brights or high beams on, but then another car passes you with similarly bright lights. You wonder why any car manufacturer would allow these to be put on the car in the first place.

That will be changing, however, as “adaptive driving beam headlights” will be hitting U.S. highways soon. These new high-tech headlights can automatically change the light beams so they focus on dark areas of the road, avoiding creating glare for the oncoming drivers on the other side of the road.

Most commonly used in Europe before now, the headlights are equipped with LED lamps that focus the beams of light on darkness, and lower the intensity of the beams for oncoming traffic. Camera sensors and computers assist in determining where the beams of light should go. This means that while the dark road in front of you and the dark areas along the side of the road will get those light beams, the people driving down the opposite lane will not be blinded in the process.

What was wrong with the old headlights?

While it is important to be able to see in the dark while you’re driving at night, it is also important not to blind other drivers in the process. This is the problem with those bright LED headlights. And they don’t have to be blinding drivers coming from the opposite direction either. Those bright headlights can blind and stun even when they shine into the eyes of a driver when reflected through their rear-view mirror.

According to AAA, more than half of car accidents happen at night, and it is likely that  too-bright headlights could be responsible for some of those accidents — especially in areas where simply changing lanes isn’t an option, and streetlights are minimal. Going from relative darkness to the sudden blue light of LED headlights while on winding roads can very possibly stun you and lead to a collision with anything around you such as a fixed object, an animal, or even another car.

What other safety technology is out there?

Like these adaptive driving beam headlights, other driver assistance technologies can help to reduce traffic crashes every year, saving thousands of lives. In 2019, 36,096 people died in motor vehicle crashes — and many of these crashes were due to human error.

Features such as forward collision warning (detects a potential collision with a vehicle ahead and provides a warning to the driver), lane departure warning (monitors the vehicle’s position within the driving lane and alerts the driver as the vehicle approaches or crosses lane markers), rear cross traffic warning (warns the driver of a potential collision, while in reverse, that may be outside the view of the backup camera), and blind spot warning (warns of a vehicle in the driver’s blind spot) can help to save lives, and should come with every care as base technology inside the vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration even has a list of recommended safety features that also include automatic braking and rearview video systems.

Until these new adaptive headlights are common on the road, the issue of people tailgating with blinding LED lights or blinding others while driving the opposite direction will continue. In any case, it is critical that you know the risks of the road when you’re on it. Car accidents, no matter what causes them, can change your life forever in substantial and painful ways. A Maryville personal injury attorney may not be able to go after someone for having too-bright lights, but we can definitely hold someone accountable for driving recklessly, and we will work to secure the necessary compensation for you to recover as best you can and move forward from your accident.

At Shepherd & Long, P.C., our aggressive and compassionate Maryville car accident attorneys take your injuries as seriously as you do. We don’t want you worrying and stressing while you’re still healing, so we make sure to do all the complicated legal work for you. It is one of our top priorities to make sure that the person who caused these injuries to you will not continue to hurt others. Above all else, we want you to know that we are here to support and help you throughout the entire process.  That is why we make sure we are widely available throughout Blount County and East Tennessee. To learn more about how we can help, call us today at 865-982-8060 or use our contact form (even if you use those blinding LEDs).