CV Show 2024
23 - 25 APRIL 2024 • NEC • BIRMINGHAM • UK
13 March 2024
CV Show

Call for action over dazzling headlights

AA calls for DfT to investigate dazzling vehicle headlights, as majority of drivers report being blinded by LED lights.


Truck and van drivers have long complained about being dazzled by ever brighter vehicle headlights. The problem has become so severe that now the AA has urged the Department for Transport (DfT) to investigate.

Three-quarters (76%) of van and truck drivers have told the AA they are being blinded by the headlights of oncoming vehicles, while half (52%) have been dazzled by headlights from cars behind them. But it’s not just headlights causing problems. A quarter (26%) of drivers say they have been blinded by brake lights while sat in stationary traffic, while one in six (17%) say they have been dazzled by brake lights when moving.

And bright traffic lights are also causing issues. Three in 10 motorists (31%) say they have been dazzled by traffic lights.

Younger drivers are just as affected as older drivers – 70% of 18-24-year-olds said they had been blinded by oncoming headlights. And two-fifths (40%) of young drivers said they have struggled with glare from traffic lights, compared to 29% of drivers aged 65 and over.

The AA said increased consumer demand for SUV-style cars was part of the problem. Such higher-riding cars have headlights positioned higher than more traditional hatchbacks and saloon cars. Another reason – which applies to both vehicles and traffic lights – is the transition from halogen bulbs to light emitting diode (LED) lights. LEDs last longer, use less power and are usually smaller than their counterparts, which enables vehicle manufacturers more flexibility when it comes to designing vans.

But more than half (56%) of drivers say there should be tighter rules on LED headlights which focus on their height, brightness and have automatic levelling to protect other drivers. More than a third (35%) think headlights should be a ‘warmer’ orange colour rather than the ‘brighter’ white colour currently used.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said:

Being dazzled by headlights is something most drivers experience, but it seems that many drivers are now overwhelmed with bright lights. Whether you are sat in a jam or in the flow of traffic, there’s a strong chance someone near you is in some discomfort with drivers struggling with bright brake and traffic lights. The effects and impact of LEDs across our road network, be it from vehicles or infrastructure, needs to be investigated by the Department for Transport and its agencies with recommendations made to protect road users.


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