A new study from The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) determined that a majority of American drivers have cars with insufficient headlights, putting them at much greater risks of accident at nighttime and during inclement weather. The IIHS concluded that most headlights in the United States aren’t even bright enough to stop a preventable car accident.
In fact, the researchers tested 31 different kinds of cars. Only the Toyota Prius v earned a rating of “good,” but only if said Toyota Prius v also came with LED headlights and high-beam assist.
Auto experts say that low-beam headlights should help drivers see as far as 160 feet away; high-beam lights, on the other hand, should help drivers see up to 500 feet down the road. Unfortunately, the vast majority of cars tested failed to meet even these basic standards for driver and vehicle safety.
Even luxury vehicles were often outfitted with subpar headlights, like the BMW 2 series and 3 series.
However, it’s the cars researchers labeled as their “poor performance” category that drivers should be wary of in 2016. According to the researchers, the poor category of cars included “the Buick Verano, Cadillac ATS, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Malibu Limited (fleet model), Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Mercedes-Benz C Class, Mercedes-Benz CLA, Nissan Altima and Volkswagen Passat.”
Of course, auto experts are warning drivers that ultimately it is their responsibility to make sure the headlights are operating properly.
“Now that this story, this study, has been released, people may say, ‘Well, the reason I got into a crash, the reason I had an incident, was because the light was insufficient,” said Mark Stolberg, Vice President of Training, MasterDrive. “What they are going to be missing out there is their responsibility as a driver is to safely operate the vehicle and to adapt to the conditions — period.”