Figures show it causes more than 300 collisions every year
The problem of glare – caused by a headlight’s beam having a dazzling effect for oncoming traffic – is getting worse, research from the RAC suggests.
Nine in 10 drivers said ‘some’ or ‘most’ car headlights are too bright and 54% of these said they are dazzled more regularly now than a year ago.
When asked how they are affected by glare, six in 10 of those affected said they regularly get dazzled by oncoming headlights even though they are dipped, with a similar proportion (60%) being unable to tell if headlights are either dipped or on full beam.
Almost half (45%) also complained that they get dazzled by headlights in their rear-view mirror, while 70% believe some lights are so bright they represent an accident risk.
In fact, official Government data shows there are around 300 collisions every year where dazzling headlights are a factor.
Drivers were less clear on the likely causes of glare, however. Half (51%) blamed vehicles that sit higher on the road, such as increasingly popular sports utility vehicles (SUVs) for dazzling them, although 41% said the problem was not caused by any particular type of vehicle.
Similarly, when it comes to lighting technologies, 55% believe ‘bluer’ xenon or the most modern LED headlights are to blame, but a similar number (51%) are not sure or cannot tell the difference between the types of lights.
The research also found that in some cases drivers themselves might be inadvertently causing glare – either by not adjusting their lights correctly, or by having badly-aligned lights. Almost half (47%) of drivers either never adjust their car headlights up or down when carrying different loads, or don’t do it regularly enough – something that is important in avoiding causing other people to suffer from glare as the aim of the headlight beam is affected by the load in the vehicle.
A quarter of drivers (26%) meanwhile have suspected problems with a misaligned headlight, with 9% of this group either trying to sort the problem out themselves or ignoring it altogether – all of these scenarios are likely to lead to a dazzling effect that could cause other road users discomfort.
RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “The dazzling effect of another driver’s headlights isn’t just uncomfortable – in some cases it can be nothing short of dangerous, making us lose sight of the road for a short time. So it’s concerning to see that a greater proportion of drivers have reported problems with glare this year than last year.”