Brighter headlights: Better vision, more glare - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Brighter headlights: Better vision, more glare

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Your eyes aren't deceiving you: Headlights are getting brighter. (KTEN) Your eyes aren't deceiving you: Headlights are getting brighter. (KTEN)

DENISON, Texas -- Have you noticed brighter headlights in oncoming traffic?

Studies show more vehicles than ever are equipped with more intense LED and HID (high intensity discharge) lamps, and that brightness can be good or bad -- depending on what side of the wheel you are on.

"People are starting to buy newer vehicles, so there are more cars on the road that have newer headlights," said Toyota product specialist Josh Benedict. "LED lights are 225 percent brighter than your normal halogen bulb ... .with the LED lights, you can see further, you can see motorists and pedestrians up ahead with a lot more distance in front of you."

But with every bright side there is a downside. The dazzling headlamps can create glare and be almost blinding to other drivers.

"It's a little blinding, depending on the height of the car and how it hits my eyes," said motorist Wanda Lawrence. "Depending on the car, it's bad."

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Lt. Scott Hampton said that brightness is legal.

"What we see is typically your trucks -- your higher trucks, things like that -- is where the lights start getting really, really bright," he said.

According to a 2008 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study, older drivers have longer recovery times when exposed to brighter lights. But some vehicles have safety features designed to mitigate the impact.

"Turn on your 'auto' button and at night,  if it's dark enough, then the lights will automatically dim down for you," Benedict explained.

And remember to stay cautious, because brighter doesn't mean safer.

Interested in brighter lights for your vehicle? It's possible to retrofit many cars and trucks with LED or HID bulbs, but experts say it's best to get them professionally installed to avoid breaking any laws.

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