OEM LED/HID headlights - Do they cause issues to motorists

These are the words of BHPian WhiteKnight.

The reason for the thread is my own experience in night driving. I am absolutely blinded with LED/HID headlights from certain cars. I tried attributing the same to my dwindling eyesight, however, based on a conversation with folks, this seems to be a real issue. I do know how LEDs and HID are different, however, they both, in general, seem to emit bluish light. Doing some google search made me realise that across the globe people are complaining about the same.

So, what is the real issue?

  • Is there a regulation on colour temperature allowed? If so, don't think it is being followed by manufacturers.
  • Are the cut offs for low beams proper?
  • Does "cool white" really help even the one who is driving the car?

Here are my thoughts

  • LEDs, by default, produce more light per watt. So, a 60W LED would be way more brighter than a regular halogen. Government should refine/update the rules to limit the light emitted, than limit the wattage.
  • High wavelength light disperses less, hence gives more visibility to driver. This is the reason to have 3500K-4000K colour temperature (yellowish) for headlights. Anything above, due to dispersion, creates blinding effect to onlookers and is a hazard. This needs to be regulated by the government, if not done already. I tend to think there could be rules that are getting violated.

Then the question is why LEDs seem to light the road ahead? It is purely because of reason #1 above - more light per watt.

Amongst the vehicles with LED/HID on Indian roads, some are more disturbing than others. The most disturbing headlight, by far is the one on the Suzuki Baleno, and to a lesser extent, the Ciaz. It is definitely a higher colour temperature, normally referred to as cool white, may be 6000K and it is HID, I guess. Mercedes Benz, in general, seem to have "cool white" light compared to BMW lights.

The least disturbing one I've seen is the one on the Endeavour. Even the LEDs on the Vento appear to be harmless.

To summarise, before it gets out of hand, government agencies need to publish rules governing the lights, matching with the best use of latest technologies. Last thing I want is a rule similar to sun film ban - we need a rule that governs the desired outcome, not the means.

And, we're not even talking about aftermarket fitments.

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