Of all of the features that we usually talk about during the car maintenance, headlights are not usually discussed as they either work or they don’t. However, they’re among the more important parts of a vehicle regarding driving safety. Front lights ensure that a driver can see and be seen by others. Without them, the roadway would be far more dangerous. AAA recently tested a variety of cars’ headlights and found that U.S. vehicles are falling short on safety, “By failing to properly light roadways at moderate speeds, a pedestrian or animal may not become visible to a driver until it’s too late to stop.” There’s not much we can do to speed up industry standards in headlight safety, but there are some steps we can take to make sure we’re getting the most from our car headlights.
Read on for tips on keeping car headlights in good condition and using them correctly:
Headlight Usage – As a general rule, use them in inclement weather, in the darkness of night or tunnels, ½ an hour before dusk and dawn, or anytime when visibility is low. Remember New York Vehicle & Traffic Laws mandate headlight use if your wipers are on. Some highways also mandate headlight use even during broad daylight to increase visibility. Be sure to pay attention to road signs.
High Beams Usage – Your high beams should be used when driving in low visibility areas, and there is no oncoming traffic, such as one-way roads or on isolated roads without much traffic. If you see another car approaching, turn them off until the car passes. If you see a car approaching with their high beams on, avoid looking in the light and focus on the road lines to guide your vehicle and to protect your night vision. High beams can increase your visibility at night by 28% according to AAA, but they can also lead to glare when used in fog, snow, or sleet so use them with caution
Car Headlight Performance – Get in the habit of periodically checking your headlights. Start your car and make sure the parking brake is still engaged, look at the front headlights to make sure all the bulbs are on and checking the headlight alignment is just as important. Headlights can become crooked or shine too far up or directly down, both of which would limit your visibility. If you notice your headlights are out of alignment, make an appointment with our car care center, and as a bonus, you’ll be covered by our Free Roadside Assistance.
Car Headlight Maintenance – Deteriorated or dirty headlight lenses are not just an aesthetic issue, they are a safety hazard. Dirt and debris can cloud light casings and reduce the light emitted from the bulbs, reducing your visibility. Vehicles must meet minimum light requirements issued by the car manufacturer to pass annual state inspections, but more importantly to keep you and your family safe on the road.
Despite advances in headlight bulbs from high-intensity discharge (HID), halogen, and light emitting diode (LED) your nighttime visibility can be reduced by as much as 80%. Compared to full daylight visibility. If your headlights are cloudy or misaligned, you’re unnecessarily putting your family at risk driving at night. Schedule your Back to School Special and we’ll check your headlights, along with the rest of your car, and give you a jumpstart on the long nights ahead. From wipers and headlights to transmission service and tires, we’ll be here keeping you and your family safe.