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The Importance Of Headlight Performance In Safety Ratings!


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Author: Justin Pritchard -

IIHS reported nighttime crash rates per mile are nearly 20 per cent lower for vehicles with headlights that earn a 'good' rating.

Headlights are an extremely important part of your new vehicle that you don't often get to try until after you've handed over your hard-earned cash, taken delivery of your new machine, and have gone for your first nighttime drive.

Important headlight features
After hundreds of thousands of kilometres of testing new car headlights after dark on Northern Ontario's largely-unlit highways and backroads, these are some of the attributes and functionalities I've come to expect from the best lighting systems I test.

Opting for a model with strong headlight performance has numerous benefits after dark -- including reduced driver eye fatigue, reduced stress levels, improved comfort and confidence, and an easier time gathering quality information about your driving environment.

Headlights that reach further up the highway to reflective surfaces can provide additional situational awareness and earlier warning of wildlife up the road, and headlights with a well-controlled beam pattern help ensure drivers get plenty of light where it's needed, and little where it's not.

Add in a clean, white and thickly-saturated spread of illumination, and high performing headlights make life easier on your eyes when the sun goes down, and in general.

Additional functions like automatic high beams and steerable adaptive lighting functionality reduce driver workload and improve vision performance by ensuring the maximum amount of light is transmitted into your driving environment and aimed exactly where you need it. In addition to making it easier and more comfortable to see in the dark, high performing headlights give drivers precious extra seconds to react to hazards up the road.

How to find a new vehicle with good headlights
But how's a shopper to know which models -- if any -- they're considering have a high-performing lighting system? Short of arranging a nighttime test-drive, which is highly unlikely considering your dealership will be closed, it seems like a difficult task. However, there's at least one place shoppers can go looking to help them make a better purchase decision.

Enter the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS. This independent, nonprofit organization is dedicated to reducing deaths, damage and injuries from motor vehicle crashes through research, evaluation, and education. The IIHS has long been known for crash-testing cars and trucks, as well as their crash avoidance and crash prevention technologies including electronic stability control, automatic braking and more.

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