Headlights are worth their weight in gold

Most drivers on their way to work or back home have no doubt noticed cars with defective headlamps, either poorly adjusted or completely blown light bulbs. It is something so normal that hardly any attention is given. And that actually represents a bad thing, because headlights, as well as taillights, are important safety elements. Keeping them in top shape is not even an expensive operation.

BBC has spent time to talk to a few sources, all of which strongly advise drivers to pay more attention to headlights, and their role in preventing accidents.

Besides the traditional lights most cars have, there exist a few other technologies that that help drivers and their cars to clearly show their position. This is an important aspect especially in bad weather, like snow, fog, or rain.

One tech that is familiar to many of us is xenon lighting. A good number of modern cars have them, and German cars tend to feature it quite often. Dominiek Plancke from Philips Lighting stated that if more cars had xenon lights, significant improvements could be seen. Referring to the situation in Germany he thinks that “you could save 18 percent of the lives lost in traffic if all cars were equipped with Xenon headlights.” This conclusion was reached in light of results obtained from a TUV Rhineland study.

Many accidents took place because of deficient headlights, which gave too little time for a driver to respond accordingly. Presuming we are talking about a responsible driver, if he sees the car from farther away he might have time to make a proper maneuver, and avoid a crash.

Another interesting technology is LED lamps. One of the best examples of this is the Audi’s LED daytime running lights. They don’t just alert someone of the car’s proximity, even in lower light conditions, but they also look nice as far as style is concerned.

A measure taken in Europe in February 2011 stated that all new cars must be equipped with daytime running lights. LED lights also have the advantage of using less power than incandescent bulbs, thus the gas bill be lower.

Also, because LEDs are brighter and quicker to react than traditional bulbs, they are seeing increased presence in brake lights. The two advantages are significant as they allow for some 33 feet to be taken down from braking distance at 56 mph. Keeping in line with the previous example, the 2012 Audi A6 uses LEDs for its main headlights, so it’s something doable.

The latest innovation in this field comes from lasers. BMW has been working hard on this tech, as seen in the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show on the i3 and i8. In its original goals laser headlights should have hit the market in about 3 years time, but rapid advance in the field may cut that down to just one year.

Again, Audi had also previewed laser tech, with a system the projected red triangle behind the car on the road, making sure that drivers know at all times, even in the worst of conditions that a car is in front of them.

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