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Automotive and Traffic Related Lighting Too Bright

Am I the only person in the country who finds the new LED headlights, brake lights and indicator lights so bright that it’s impossible to see anything else on the road? It’s the same with LED traffic lights. They are blinding in the darkness of night. It’s illegal to drive towards oncoming traffic with high beams on, but some of these LED lights are brighter than the older style high beams and that’s without the LED lights having high beam mode switched on.

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I don’t mind the brightness of the LEDs anywhere near as much as the ‘design flair’ that I find distracting, especially the ‘eyebrows’ around the headlamps day and night. FWIW some of the worst offending head lamps are Xenon, not LED, varieties. I like the LED traffic lights because they stand out and are less affected by direct sun, so win in the day but get dazzled at night. Another aspect of the new headlamps is the light colour that can be harder on the eyes.

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I’m with you on this one @NubglummerySnr. There have been times when I’ve thought the oncoming cars must have had their high beams on, only to realise they are just really bright LEDs. My concern is I think it can be a safety issue for other drivers.

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The relevant vehicle standard is Australian Design Rule (ADR) 46/00 - Headlamps. Section 7 covers gauging of discomfort. It’s worth noting that there is a number of alternative (international) standards, as motor vehicles are such a global product type.
ADR 46/00 - Headlamps

It might be worth raising the issue with your state or territory motoring organisation. I’ve done a quick search on (NSW) NRMA’s website, but couldn’t find anything relevant.

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Hi Vince

I don’t believe it is the LED lights per se. The brightness you perceive may be a matter of headlight alignment as much as anything. Like Phil, I find the Xenon cold blue coloured headlights the most distracting.

I do have a caveat though… Many of the newer headlights (LED, Xenon etc.) are more powerful and throw further. Drivers often don’t realize how far away their high beams actually cause glare, and so dip their head lights far, far too late. This short sightedness (pardon the pun) is very dangerous because it can cause temporary night blindness which could be fatal on country roads.

What is blinding is the tendency for people to drive with their fog lights on. These low slung fog lights are designed to have a wide spread beam which cause glare to oncoming traffic, and from a distance look like the high beams are on. From the rear the red fog lights look very bright, even brighter than the the stop lights, and cause confusion as to whether the person is braking or not. Of course it is illegal to drive with these on unless there is fog or other haze, but this does not seem to ever be enforced.

So in my opinion it comes down to headlight alignment and consideration for other road users rather than the LED vehicle lights.

As to the traffic lights, I find them more visible especially in direct sunshine, and I think they are safer.

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I have HID ( high intensity discharge ) head lamps fitted as standard equipment on my Suzuki Baleno RS Turbo . They are great and give good long range penetration on low beam . I have noticed when driving at night other Balenos fitted with the same HID’s are not nearly as overpowering as some other forms of headlamps when approaching me on dark roads .

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It’s one thing for motor vehicles - they have high/low beam and the beams are angled for left hand drive, to minimise the glare. What amazes (and frustrates) me is pushbikes that have - literally - blinding lights with no low beam.

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The ‘relevance’ of motoring organisations would be an interesting investigation for someone to do … maybe Choice, maybe not - yes a little off-topic - I’ve been a member of RAA for nearly 35 years, and what was a wonderful service/member oriented organisation seems now to just be a Government apologist for state revenue collection and inane (not practical) safety initiatives and a sales agent for travel packages … I get the sense other states are similar …

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Damn right! Car designers seem to all be on hallucinogenic drugs these days, twisting strings of LEDs in whatever patterns their warped imagination takes them. Of course they do this with head- and tail-light shapes as well, and (warning: off topic) body design especially!

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I believe this is due to some car drivers not paying enough attention and placing the cyclist at risk, so the cyclist compensates and makes sure the car driver is aware of their presence with a brighter beam

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That may well be the reason they do it - but as a rider of both human powered and engine powered two wheeled vehicles my experience has been that antagonising other road users is unlikely to educate them, and any behaviour modification it causes is usually detrimental to my safety :slight_smile:

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One issue I have with the LED lights on bicycles is due to the law in Tasmania, I don’t know about the rest of the country, that states a bicycle rider may use a flashing light instead of a standard light as a headlight. For me personally, and presumably others who also have photosensitive epilepsy, the flashing LED headlights are so bright and constant I’m in danger of having a grand mall seizure from the things as they go past, or if we’re stuck behind one in traffic. How the heck a cyclist can see the road ahead with the lamp blaring on and off I have no idea. Their irises and eye lenses must be getting a good workout having to constantly adjust from blinding light to blinding dark. Surely it’s meant as a safety feature for the cyclist to be seen by oncoming traffic, but how safe can it be to be constantly dazzling oncoming traffic with a steady stream of flashes to the point where there’s no hope in hell that a driver will be able to see where the road is?

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I’ve noticed this most with ultra-bright brake lights. Particularly trucks with the set of three on each side layout at near eye height. Last week was dazzled by a set & couldn’t see through the dazzle that the much smaller & less bright indicator was flashing.

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I also find cyclist lights blinding, being pretty much at eye height when I’m driving. Another concern is the flashing variety, that could easily be a seizure trigger

I found them so difficult to deal with that I was wearing sunglasses on my commute before dawn in winter. Despite my dislike of them and the invasion of them, I ended up buying an SUV rather than a regular car to avoid the bulk of the blinding lights. Worst offenders: Mercedes and Audi - and not just their SUVs

I have some of the same issues. Back in the 1960s I had an Austin that included dimming on stop lights if the tail lights were on (ie it was night time). Perhaps there are or should be regulations regarding the ‘relative’ brightness of lights at night?

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Sorry ever had a issue with them at all. They are far better during the day and night.

On a similar, but slightly different note, I have a big issue with the coloured indicator lamps/leds behind basically clear outer lens covers. With the sun at a low angle behind you, it is impossible to see the operating flashers with the bright sun on the outer lens. I find this a far greater problem than bright headlights. When the lens itself was coloured, there was no problem telling whether the flasher was operating.
As to the headlights, have you ever seen a rego inspection include checking the headlight alignment? When I was a lad in the early sixties, and worked part time at a service station (back when the name was truthful!) when they did a rego check we used a machine which was adjusted to the correct height in front of each headlight and high and low beams were checked for height and left/right alignment. Now, with vehicles under five years old not requiring inspections, the headlights could be pointing anywhere!

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In Vic a roadworthy is only required to transfer ownership!

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You’re definitely not the only person! The other thing I find blinding, doing plenty of night-time country driving, is the brightness of roadside signage - the current standard is probably great in the city where ambient light is plentiful, but if you’re the only one on the road and you’re high beam is on, it is an absolute blinder (and not in the metaphorical good way!!!). PS I always keep my lights dimmed if I can see another person’s headlights or taillights. And I agree with the person who commented on fog lights - they are a real pain!!!

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