Headlights in midsize cars rate poorly, says IIHS

Headlights in midsize cars rate poorly, says IIHS

The Toyota Prius v is the only midsize car out of 31 evaluated to earn a good rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)ês first headlight ratings. To get those headlights, consumers must buy the advanced technology package, available only on the highest trim level.

The best available headlights on 11 cars earn an acceptable rating, while nine earn a marginal rating. Ten of the cars many of them luxury vehicles canêt be bought with anything other than poor headlights.

Government standards for headlights, based on lab tests, allow huge variation in the amount of illumination that headlights provide in real-world driving, said IIHS. With about half of traffic deaths occurring either in the dark or at dawn or dusk, improved headlights have the potential to bring about substantial reductions in death rates.

In many vehicles, high-intensity discharge (HID) or LED lamps have replaced halogen. Curve-adaptive headlights, which swivel according to steering input, are also becoming more widespread. Research has shown advantages for the new headlights, but they donêt guarantee good performance. IIHS tested for glare for oncoming vehicles as well as illumination for five approaches.

Among the 44 headlight systems earning a –poor,” the halogen lights on the BMW 3 series are the worst. A driver would have to go 35 mph or less to stop in time for an obstacle in the travel lane.

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