Drivers may be blinded by headlights that are too bright amid warning

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Car headlights could be “significant road safety risk” as thousands of drivers complain of being dazzled or distracted behind the wheel. Some 88 percent of drivers taking part in RAC’s study said they had been dazzled, effectively temporarily blinded, by headlights while on the road.

A massive 63 percent of road users said they were getting dazzled for more than a year or two with 23 percent claiming they were now being dazzled a lot more.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis previously said: “It’s clear that the problem of drivers being dazzled by the headlights of others isn’t going away, and in fact our research shows that a large proportion of drivers say they’re getting dazzled more regularly now than a year or two ago.

“What’s more, and perhaps surprisingly, it’s younger drivers who are more likely to complain about glare which suggests the matter has little – if anything – to do with an individual’s eyesight.

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

“If they’re not angled properly – or the driver in the oncoming car has forgotten to dip their headlights – there’s every chance you’re going to get blinded.

“Modern LED headlight technology may also have a part to play as the human eye reacts to the so-called ‘blue light’ from LEDs differently to the ‘yellow light’ of conventional halogen headlights.”

The poll found a total of 64 percent of drivers said they believe headlight dazzle could cause other drivers to have accidents.

Around 65 percent of drivers said it takes between just one and five seconds to see clearly after being dazzled.

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However, a massive 12 percent said it took more than six seconds for their eyes to clear.

The RAC warned that drivers would travel more than 40 car lengths in this time, suggesting the lights could be compromising road safety.

Data from the poll showed that 82 percent of road users would like something done to help reduce headlight glare.

Young drivers are most likely to complain about brightness with 30 percent of those aged 17 to 34 believing lights are too bright.

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This compares to just 19 percent of road users aged 65 and over.

Meanwhile, of the young drivers who believe the lights were too bright, 70 percent thought the accident risk is increased. This fell to 62 percent among those aged 65 and above.

Mr Dennis added: “This presents a real irony: the brighter and better your vehicle’s headlights are, the clearer your night-time view of the road ahead is, often it seems at the expense of anyone coming towards you.

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

“In short, being dazzled isn’t just about discomfort, it also represents a significant road safety risk.

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

“Despite the RAC first having flagged drivers’ concerns several years ago, we’re not aware anything at all has happened – which will no doubt be extremely disappointing to many drivers.”

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