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Government commissions study into headlight glare

 Published 9th May 2024
Driver Guides 

The government is launching a study into the impact of headlight glare after a campaign by fleets and motoring organisations.

Gateway2Lease recently featured a survey by the RAC of 2,000 drivers revealing most felt the problem of headlight glare is getting worse, with 89% saying some car headlights are too bright.

Most of those affected by headlight glare say oncoming lights can be so bright they are forced to slow down considerably and fear it increases the risk of crashes.

The Department for Transport says the independent research will help “better understand the root causes of driver glare and identify any further appropriate mitigations”.

A petition calling for action has drawn 13,000 signatures to date.

Experts suggest the use of LEDs creates a brighter, more intense beam, but other factors include badly aligned headlights and greater numbers of SUVs with lights that sit higher above the ground.

International rules requiring new cars to have mandatory automatic headlight levelling based on the weight being carried come into force in 2027.

A growing number of cars also feature matrix LED headlights, which can restrict light beams to key parts of the road to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic.

Commenting on the Government’s resolve to tackle headlight glare, RAC road safety spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “The fact the Government has listened to drivers’ concerns and heeded our calls to examine the complex issue of headlight glare in more detail marks a real turning point. The topic has undoubtedly struck a chord with motorists up and down the country, with many people contacting us directly to call for something to be done.

“Brighter headlights, while giving drivers a better view of the road ahead, are clearly causing other road users significant problems. As many as nine-in-10 drivers tell us they believe at least some car headlights are too bright, while 14% of drivers aged 65+ say they have stopped driving altogether as a result of being dazzled.

“An independent study provides a golden opportunity for the Government and industry to get to the bottom of the problem, identify the factors involved and map out a way forward. We’re aware of regulatory changes being made at an international level that will hopefully make a difference in many years to come, but are concerned that these alone may not be enough to address headlight dazzle.”

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