There aught to be a law!

bshanahan14rulz

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This doesn't apply to current headlight technology, but I think when driving around urban and inner city, I think manufacturers should add a low power headlight mode, which under powers and dims the headlight. Less light on the car means you'll use the street lights to guide your driving. And when you get on the highway at night, you turn it back on to full power.

This is exactly what they have now, and is one of the specific things I'm arguing against. The appropriate time for DRLs is in the daytime; running them at night can be dangerous to others with no apparent benefit for the driver. A "lose-lose", if you will, and even somewhat counterproductive to the very reason why DRLs are meant to be implemented.

The default is that you are easily able to misuse the system accidentally if you don't go out of your way to educate yourself on what it is and how it should work. Instead, I believe the default should be idiot-proof, and if an owner wants to misuse the system, they should need to be an idiot with intent.

Somewhat off-topic, the lights on the dash aren't always super intuitive. You'd only know the high beam icon if your dash included the corresponding lowbeam icon. One funny one I've heard is the "butt on a piano" icon. aka the low tire pressure indicator.
 

idleprocess

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Lol. This really shows how much power understand about night lighting.
You've yet to explain how reducing light makes sense.

Your headlights only light up about 100 ft ahead of you. This means, you are using ONLY 100ft of visibility if you depend only on the headlights.
The use of headlights at normal power does not subtract from available ambient lighting.

If you drive in the suburbs and inner city, the streets are well lit.
This may be the case in some areas, but in my experience this is rare - almost vanishingly so.

People hit animals and objects on the road regardless if they have headlights. This is due to the nature at which they come out onto the road, in which case you're helpless either way.
Indeed they do, but you've yet to make a case for how reducing visibility improves safety.
 

chillinn

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I think that there should be a law that manufacturers of cars and trucks must design them with headlights at a standard height, and that it should be low enough that they do not allow them to shine into the windshield of standard passenger vehicles.
This thread has been bothering me because I thought it was about something else. Apologies, but I have no intention of reading through 7 pages of comments, and this information might be redundant.

As I expect someone must have provided, there is a law. That isn't the problem. The problem, as I expect someone surely must have explained, is that a lot of vehicles have their headlights misaligned, especially pickups. I don't think I have ever seen a pickup truck with its headlights properly adjusted, and it isn't the pickup drivers being jerks at all, they're just unaware and innocent bystanders, though I would love it if traffic enforcement would be more observant about this and issue warnings.

Again, it isn't vehicle owners, per se, it's dealers intentionally aligning headlights to point straight (which is what is blinding us) instead of at a proper angle towards the road. Apparently, this one easy trick helps sell vehicles.

As I am sure all will be relieved to hear, I am now saying goodbye to this thread. Farewell and good luck, thread, I hardly knew ye!
 

theory816

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You've yet to explain how reducing light makes sense.

This applies only to inner city streets and suburbs.

By reducing the light from your vehicle, it makes driving more comfortable since there's less light bouncing into your eyes from in front of you. This bright spot tends to pull your field of vision down, instead of straight ahead.

Secondly, in low power mode, since you are looking up ahead and relying on the street lights, you are seeing more of the road, which is a huge safety factor. Headlights light up about 100ft, so if you are going 40mph on an inner road, it won't give you much time to react either way. Depending on your headlights to see is a very narrow view of the road. The only time you have to depend on it is in pitch dark situations where you have no choice. I'm not saying to turn it off completely, I'm saying to put it in low power.

Lastly, lower powered headlights option switch means less glare for incoming traffic.

The creed for race drivers/professional drivers is, "ALWAYS LOOK AHEAD". That's something you can't do if you rely solely on headlights and not street lights.
 
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idleprocess

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This applies only to inner city streets and suburbs.
I'm aware of precious few stretches of road in the DFW metro area where this is reasonably applicable.

Only one major street in my region where I'd be close to comfortable with this idea - a short stretch of Belt Line Road in Addison with median light standards every 30 meters or so (this photo while obviously touched up gives an idea of the density/arrangement). Some random sections of highway, highway interchanges. A few tunnels and underpasses. Some retail parking lots. Otherwise, street lighting is intermittent and variable enough that you're going to want regular headlights because the range is between 'seemingly more intense than your headlights' and 'shut down color vision but not activate night vision'.

Just in my neighborhood:
  • My street is all of ~100 meters long: HPS light at the north T junction, MHI light at the south T junction, both largely obstructed by trees with the junctions relatively well lit and the street itself falling into highly-contrasting darkness
  • One of the through streets in the neighborhood has a streetlight at the arterial junction then goes through a slow sweeping 45º curve some 350 meters until reaching a cross street with a street light
  • Two parallel tree-lined ~300m streets with lamp posts at either end ... that only illuminate the junctions: because trees
  • Arterials bounding the neighborhood will have occasional light standards in the media and a streetlight on each signal post but otherwise rely on neighborhood entrance lighting
... which is pretty representative of the DFW area in my 30+ years of living here.

it makes driving more comfortable
There are countless things that make driving individually more comfortable. Quite a few of them make driving less safe.

there's less light bouncing into your eyes from in front of you
Read: you're seeing less. You're also experiencing markedly more variation in visual input since intensities are varying significantly. And in many areas you also have appreciable light source diversity with a mix of HPS, MHI, LED.

Secondly, in low power mode, since you are looking up ahead and relying on the street lights, you are seeing more of the road, which is a huge safety factor.
You're describing a driver training problem. A good driver should be devoting a fraction of their attention beyond the reach of their headlights - be they low or high beams - given that there are compromises in their performance (thus low vs high beams). In total darkness you'll be looking for gross hazards given the small amount of light available; in our hypothetical urban/suburban environment it will be more profitable.

Complimentary to this, headlights should be well-adjusted. See next paragraph.

Headlights light up about 100ft
No, they don't. If I adjusted my daily driver's ~27" high headlights to conservatively drop 3" at 25' they'll go 225 feet. Another vehicle with ~33" high headlights with 3" of drop will realize 275 feet.

Now I don't doubt that there are no small numbers of poorly-adjusted headlamps out there. Geometry prevents the brodozer demo - with headlights some 48" high or higher - from adjusting their headlights in such a fashion as to be both useful and acceptable to other non-brodozers. And there are no shortage of vehicles with more conventionally-situated headlights angled far too low, poorly emulating foglights.

Lastly, lower powered headlights option switch means less glare for incoming traffic.
A correctly-adjusted low beam presents negligible glare by design.
 

theory816

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Those are all good rebuttals. But I've tested all of this and found that my driving was more comfortable and safer.

It comes down to knowing when to use what and when, at least for me.

I gave my reasons for going low power mode in urban areas with good to decent street lighting.
 

jzchen

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You headlights are aimed too low, the increased foreground light is constricting your pupils causing it to be difficult to see far! (Wait, I should quote that and reference @Virgil).

My wife and I picked up a ‘23 EQB 250+. We were driving around a very dark area trying to find the equivalent “gas station” to charge up and surprisingly I could not engage the high beams to stay on, without holding the stalk! I guess Mercedes came up with a solution to accidentally leaving the high beams on, or I just need to read the manual…..
 

bykfixer

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John 3:16
ED05DC01-696C-4768-B216-9DEE61342E0D.jpeg
86E56B5C-8D45-4D24-9213-E8CE87B57DA3.jpeg

interstate with and without headlights.
Yup pretty dangerous without headlights

8D414F3F-CF99-420B-87C7-E542A5D1BF01.jpeg
B1BD6760-0587-44C8-AB42-E45489E9B8A6.jpeg

My city with and without headlights.
I'll let the viewers guess which is which
 

orbital

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Brand new midsized 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, the headlights are not low to the ground,
sadly Poppy, they likely never will be on new trucks.
(truck are the biggest selling vehicles in the States for something like the past 50 years)

Many will argue headlights slightly higher up are safer, because they give better coverage

 

EJR

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Brand new midsized 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, the headlights are not low to the ground,
sadly Poppy, they likely never will be on new trucks.
(truck are the biggest selling vehicles in the States for something like the past 50 years)

Never say never. The new GMC Hummer EV headlamps are mounted in the bumper. The 2024 GMC Sierra EV will also have the headlamps mounted low. Many big SUVs today also mount their headlamps low. Hopefully car makers will continue to design the styling of trucks/SUVs this way for the sake of safe lighting.

Many will argue headlights slightly higher up are safer, because they give better coverage

And that argument (particularly for seeing distance) has some validity but not quite to the extent that people would like to think. The gains are very minimal but the negative impact of glare to oncoming traffic and to the side mirrors of preceding vehicles is greater.

A report published back in '01 by the SAE Mounting Height Task Force concluded that the headlamp mounting height for passenger cars, trucks and SUVs be no greater than 33.5 inches to prevent glare beyond "admissible" levels.
 

orbital

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I think the low placed lights you're talking about on the GM EV trucks are their DRLs' , not their full headlights.
..if they are full headlights, they're going to be very piercing indeed.
 

EJR

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I think the low placed lights you're talking about on the GM EV trucks are their DRLs' , not their full headlights.

They are not DRLs. Their headlamps for sure. Read it straight from the source HERE.

..if they are full headlights, they're going to be very piercing indeed.

If by "piercing" you mean glaring, then NO they will not. Their low mounting height along with proper aim is going to do better for the reasons I discussed in my previous post.
 

orbital

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The GMC truck does have the headlights low, actually looked it up.
the Hummer is a bit different..


 

orbital

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If by "piercing" you mean glaring, then NO they will not. Their low mounting height along with proper aim is going to do better for the reasons I discussed in my previous post.
+

Not talking about behind me,, by piercing I meant on a two lane highway oncoming
 

EJR

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The GMC truck does have the headlights low, actually looked it up.
the Hummer is a bit different..
What's your point? Mine is that the Hummer EV still has lower mounted headlamps than todays large pickup trucks and SUVs.

hummer versus.png



orbital said:
Not talking about behind me,, by piercing I meant on a two lane highway oncoming

Yeah I was talking about FRONTAL glare too.

Here is a 3D model I designed using an estimated headlamp mounting height of 0.762m (30 in) and lamp separation of 1.4m (55 in). I've selected a very low vehicle (BMW E82) for opposing traffic. The model clearly demonstrates that the beam cutoff is well below eye level and side mirror height.

The only way these beams would ever glare is by way of improper aim (not a fault of the lamp design) or inadequate optical design (highly unlikely).

glare sierra ev.png
 
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John_Galt

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>improper aim or inadequate optical design

Half of South Carolinas vehicle owners have entered the chat.

Overloaded vehicles and those with worn out suspensions will also likely be pointing skyward. Without mandating auto-leveling, glare is going to be a continuous, and unavoidable reality of driving. Very little of the paved surface we drive on is perfectly flat, level and imperfection free. Inclines, hills, potholes, twists and turns in the roadway will all have the result being that some drivers are having their vision disturbed by other drivers at frequent intervals. Adaptive headlamps will be of help in 10 years (when there's enough of them on the roads).

All these attempts to reduce glare going forward are nice, but there will still be lots of glare experienced and produced by the previous generations of vehicles still driving around. Given the increase in the price of new vehicles, combined with increasing interest rates, I don't see the average age of a registered vehicles decreasing suddenly. The opposite in fact, where those who are scraping by (and the thrifty) keep older and older vehicles on the roads. Safety issues, like visibility and glare will take second fiddle to people practical realities, namely keeping some semblance of a headlamp functioning. Current trends, like LED retrofit type bulbs (of various levels of imperfection) will make glare worse in the meantime.
 
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