Maryland Attorney Discusses Headlight Quality & Limited Visibility
If you’re like most drivers, you probably spend far less time thinking about the condition of your headlights than your battery or tires. However, headlights play a significant role in safe driving at night, and losing headlight performance can greatly increase the chances for danger on the road.
In December, Triple A published the results of research about the way headlight condition impacts performance and visibility, and the findings were cause for concern.
The major issue being studied was natural deterioration of the headlights. Most headlights have a plastic lens in front of the bulb, and the plastic breaks down from exposure to sunlight over time. This causes the plastic to fog or yellow, which in turn impacts the effectiveness of the lens. This natural breakdown of the plastic can become noticeable within only three to five years in many vehicles.
How bad is this for headlights? First, it is important to know the baseline. Brand new headlights, even at peak efficiency, only produce about 40 percent of the visibility full daylight provides. So, before they endure any damage, the best headlights are leaving more than half of the road hidden from drivers.
According to the data Triple A collected, headlights that have seen deterioration produce only about 22 percent of the light output that new headlights put out. This means drivers who are driving vehicles that have fogged or yellowed headlights are putting everyone at risk on the road.
Maintenance and follow-up
Drivers need to get into the habit of checking the condition of their headlights regularly. If you can see yellowing or clouding, or find it hard to see the bulb inside the headlight, it is time to consider doing something about it.
Professional and home restoration kits are generally the cheapest way to clear headlights, but these involve harsh processes and the end result was found to be only 70 percent of the illumination of new headlights with unacceptable levels of glare. Replacing deteriorated lenses with aftermarket parts was found to restore light to between 83-90 percent of original illumination, also with glare. The only method found to restore lights to full power was replacement with manufacturer parts.
One of the responsibilities of car ownership is maintenance of important systems, and the headlights are no exception. Drivers are urged to keep their headlights in the best condition they can. When they fail to do so, and cause an accident, they need to be held accountable for their negligence.
If you have been the victim of an auto accident, contact us today to learn how our car accident attorneys fight for you.