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IIHS Finds Headlights on Many Vehicles Fail to Perform Basic Safety Function

With all the high-tech safety equipment on new cars today, it’s surprising that one of the oldest and most basic safety features could fall short of the mark on many vehicles – yet that’s exactly what a new report has found. A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) concluded that “new ratings show most headlights need improvement.”

Few would argue that headlights are not one of the most essential safety features of a car. As such, headlights that fail to illuminate the road properly should be of significant concern to drivers.

Headlights Not So Bright

The IIHS study looked at 31 midsize cars’ headlights. Out of the 31, only one of the vehicles – the Toyota Prius V – was found to have a headlight system with a rating of “good” (the highest rating given by the IIHS). On 11 of the vehicles, a rating of “acceptable” was given, and nine of the vehicles received a rating of “marginal.” Shockingly, 10 out of the vehicles tested received a rating of “poor” – the lowest rating given by the IIHS.

While you may think that more money may buy you better headlights, think again. According to the IIHS report, some of the most expensive vehicles were those with the poorest headlight systems. The vehicle with the worst headlight system among those tested: the BMW 3 Series.

The Dangers of Weak and Ineffective Headlights

Automotive defects like weak or ineffective headlights, or those that have poor low-beam visibility and create glare, matter. Poor headlights can increase the risk of nighttime accidents, as well as accidents in fog, rain, or other conditions where visibility is limited. Not only is seeing the road ahead important, as well as oncoming vehicles, but weak headlights also increase a driver’s risk of hitting an animal, a cyclist, or a pedestrian.

Which Headlights Are Best?

The IIHS report, summarized by an article in USA Today, found that those cars that received the lowest headlight systems ratings were those with halogen units. On the contrary, the best headlight system – belonging to the Toyota Prius V – was composed of LED lights and high beam assist.

Luckily, the problem of fixing poor headlights may be relatively easy. According to Matthew Brumbelow, a senior research engineer for the IIHS, many headlight problems can be resolved with better aim. Brumbelow further stated that this is a duty that should fall on the shoulders of vehicle manufacturers, not consumers.

When Automotive Defects Cause an Accident

If you are having trouble seeing the road ahead of you when driving at night, it might not be your eyes – it may be your headlights. If poor headlight performance contributes to an accident in which you suffer injuries, you may have a claim for damages against the headlight or/and vehicle manufacturer.

To learn more about product liability and car accident claims in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys of Grimes Teich Anderson LLP. An initial consultation with our legal team is always free, and can provide you with the information you need regarding how to protect yourself after an accident. Use our online form or call our offices to schedule your free case consultation today.

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