Road safety

Car headlights are a ‘significant road safety risk’ as thousands warn of being dazzled

A new RAV study has found that 89% of 2,700 drivers think some or most car headlights are too bright. Meanwhile, 88% said they had been dazzled, or even temporarily blinded, by headlights while on the road.

A whopping 63% of road users said they had been dazzled for over a year or two, with 23% saying they were now much more dazzled.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Clearly the problem of drivers being dazzled by the headlights of others is not going away, and in fact our research shows that a large proportion of drivers say they are dazzled more regularly now than a year or two ago.

“Additionally, and perhaps surprisingly, young drivers are more likely to complain about glare, suggesting that the problem has little to do with an individual’s eyesight.”

“There are a number of factors that contribute to whether or not a headlight dazzles another driver, the most important being the angle of the headlights when you look at them.

READ MORE: Drivers fined £100 for headlight failure

However, 12% said it took them longer than six seconds for their eyes to clear.

The RAC warns that drivers would travel more than 40 car lengths during this time, suggesting the lights could compromise road safety.

Survey data shows that 82% of road users would like something done to help reduce headlight glare.

Young drivers are the most likely to complain about the brightness, with 30% of 17-34 year olds believing the lights are too bright.

This compares to only 19% of road users aged 65 and over.

Meanwhile, among young drivers who think the lights were too bright, 70% think the risk of a crash is increased. This figure drops to 62% among people aged 65 and over.

Mr Dennis added: “There is a real irony to this: the brighter and better your vehicle’s headlights are, the clearer your night vision of the road is, often to the detriment of anyone who comes your way.

“The full intensity of your headlights – especially if they’re not aimed properly downwards – can cause oncoming drivers to momentarily look away from the road or even be blinded for a few seconds.

“In short, being dazzled is not just a question of discomfort, it is also a major risk for road safety.

“But while the apparent dazzling effect caused by the headlights is complicated, it is blindingly obvious how much many drivers want the issue to be looked into by the government with a view to improving things for the future.

“Although the RAC first reported driver concerns several years ago, we have no idea what happened – which will no doubt be extremely disappointing for many drivers.”