It’s no secret that many people take pride in their cars. From shiny rims to state-of-the art sound systems, car enthusiasts can easily spend thousands of dollars all in an effort to get noticed on the road. While there’s no harm in making your wheels shine the brightest, it is a concern when aesthetics threaten the safety of other drivers.
A popular item on high-end cars and after market additions are high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps. These first started making an appearance on luxury vehicles in the 90’s. HID headlamps differ from ordinary headlights because they use a glass capsule of glowing gas to produce light instead of a heated filament bulb, which is standard in most vehicles. HID systems produce more light in the blue end of the spectrum, emitting a blue light that really makes the vehicle stand out.
Do HID Headlights Provide Driver Safety Benefit?
Advocates for the lights say that the system can be two to three times more efficient at producing light than the traditional headlight bulb because they use less heat and power consumption and they can be a safety feature. When driving at night, HID lights give the driver more light to see with, particularly in the area immediately in front of their vehicle.
In theory, this may make them safer for the driver, but in reality it can actually cause more danger because the strong blue light they emit often blinds other drivers. Studies have shown, that the HID lights are a detriment to older drivers, as their night vision is not as good as younger drivers. As Vancouver car accident lawyers, we can attest that anything that distracts drivers or impedes a driver’s own visual clarity affects everyone’s safety. In fact, research has found that HID lamps produce more glare than regular headlamps. They’re also ineffective in foggy conditions because blue light tends to be scattered by water droplets, which then reflects back to the driver, making it harder to see the road ahead. Vancouver and the lower mainland often have foggy conditions. Dense fog was a contributing factor in a January 2013 car crash resulting in a 40-car pile up on the Port Mann Bridge.
HID headlights are also very expensive. With the added cost coupled with the visual problems they cause, it simply doesn’t make sense to use them. After all, there are already so many distractions that can cause a car accident, why add another?