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Dazzling headlights becoming more problematic, RAC finds

19 Jun 2019

Dazzling headlights becoming more problematic, RAC finds

Drivers are struggling more with the issue of glare from the headlights of other cars now than they were a year ago, according to a new poll.

The RAC carried out research and found 91 per cent of motorists report some or most headlights are too bright, with 54 per cent of these respondents reporting being dazzled more this year than they were last.

Six in ten respondents said they regularly get dazzled even though oncoming headlights are dipped, although 60 per cent admitted finding it hard to tell if headlights are dipped or still on full beam.

Another 45 per cent complained about glare from their rear-view mirror - and 70 per cent said they believe some lights are so bright they could cause an accident.

Indeed, data from the government shows there are around 300 collisions every year in which glare from headlights is a contributing factor.

When asked why they think glare is getting worse, more than half blamed the growing adoption of SUVs that sit higher on the road, while 55 per cent suggested xenon or modern LED headlights could be to blame.

However, it may be that driver error plays a larger part than many would like to admit, as 47 per cent of respondents reported never or rarely adjusting their lights up and down to account for different loads.

RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis said: "The dazzling effect of another driver's headlights isn't just uncomfortable - in some cases it can be nothing short of dangerous, making us lose sight of the road for a short time. So it's concerning to see that a greater proportion of drivers have reported problems with glare this year."

He also said many drivers may be surprised to hear that international standards for headlights have not been changed since the 1960s and suggested an update may be well overdue.

Many manufacturers have been working on solutions to glare, with Apple recently reporting it is hoping to create a windscreen with a built-in anti-glare system.