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Abels & Annes, P.C. Personal Injury Blog

Your Car’s Headlights May Be a Cause of Poor Visibility

The Valley is full of sparsely populated areas, desolate locations, and open land that can lead to very dark nights and dark driving conditions. As a result, it is critically important that all motorists in the Phoenix area have properly functioning headlights on their cars and that they use those headlights whenever it is dark. But a typical driver does not think about their headlights much other than to consider whether they should be on at any given moment, considering headlights to be standard features and mostly beyond a driver’s control.

New data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (“IIHS”) suggests that motorists should think critically about their headlights and that selecting a vehicle in part on the headlights available may be a wise decision. IIHS is better known for rating cars based on their abilities to sustain a wide range of collisions in test scenarios, determining which provide the best safety to passengers and which pose the highest risk. Now, IIHS is rating headlights among 31 different makes and models of vehicles and the results suggest that manufacturers have a long way to go to provide good headlights in their cars.

Among the 31 different vehicles that received ratings, there were 82 different types of headlights possible as several models come with headlight options. All 82 were tested and only one – the Prius v – earned a “good” rating when the vehicle was equipped with LED lights and high-beam assist. When considering the best headlight available on 2016 models, 11 vehicles received an “acceptable” rating, nine were deemed “marginal,” and 10 were considered “poor.”

The ratings are concerning as headlights can make a difference in a driver’s ability to see and perceive obstacles in front of them and on the side of the road. For example, Headlights on the Prius v equipped with LED lights and high-beam assist would let a driver see far enough in front of her car to identify an object on the right side and brake to a stop prior to striking the object if that driver was traveling at 20 miles per hour. With the standard headlights in a Prius v, a driver would only be able to brake to a stop if she was traveling at 50 miles per hour -a 20 mile per hour difference.

Headlights are a safety feature and should be considered if you are in the market for a new or used vehicle. Manufacturers are expected to respond to this first batch of ratings by improving the headlights on their cars, increasing the safety of those who drive them and those who are nearby and who share the same roads. However, until all cars have the safest headlights possible, car accidents will keep happening on our streets when it is dark out and when hazards appear without warning.

If you were injured in a Phoenix car accident or if someone you love was hurt or killed in a crash, you may be entitled to financial compensation. The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. offer a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation and a lawyer is always standing by to take your call, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can reach us toll free at (855) PHX-LAWYER, locally at (602) 819-5191, or contact us online if you have questions about a claim or if you are looking for legal representation.

Prior Blog Entry:

Having a Pool Party in Phoenix? Think Safety First, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published March 29, 2016.


First-ever IIHS headlight ratings show most need improvement, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, published March 30, 2016.

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