Many of those who own crossover vehicles probably already know how sucky their headlights are in comparison to vehicles that generally sit closer to the ground. In fact, not a single CUV out of 21 that were tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety earned a good rating. Of that, only four actually rated with “acceptable” headlights. They’ve got poor ratings in that regards, but what truly makes them so bad?
Around 2,500 pedestrians are killed at night every year crossing the street, in large part due to poor headlight functioning. Many people who hit things and people in the night often don’t realize that poor visibility caused by poor lighting is what makes them less able to avoid an accident. There are outdated federal rules that have blocked automakers from introducing adaptive beam headlamps that can automatically adjust to oncoming traffic to reduce glare and help drivers see better.
This technology is allowed in Japan and Europe, but illegal here. Sleek styling and manufacturing errors on currently available systems has led to far less than perfect performance on roadways. With the excessive glare and insufficient lighting on the pavement, avoidable accidents become less avoidable.
Another reason these headlights fail to perform properly, which seems nonsensical, is that no one has previously tested how they perform when they are actually on a vehicle, while they are driving on the road. Aside from this, testing and rating headlights can be difficult due to the options available for a given model. For example, if certain lights are only available for the highest and most expensive trim level, where does that leave those who purchase a lower trim?
Many things have to be changed in order to ensure adequate safety in vehicles, but on a basic level with headlights, more needs to go into it. Luckily this test was conducted to highlight what is evidently a problem when it comes to road safety. Testing in real life situations, as well as opening up safety options for multiple trim levels would serve to make streets safer for all.