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Most Headlights In New Cars Are Inadequate, Study Finds


The majority of 2018 model cars come with inadequate headlights and most “good-rated” headlights are optional or bundled to cost more money, a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found.

“Consumers shouldn’t have to buy a fully loaded vehicle to get the headlights they need to safely drive at night,” says David Aylor, manager of active safety testing at IIHS. “All new vehicles should come with good headlights.”

The IIHS began rating headlights for passenger vehicles in 2016. That year, only 2 of 95 headlights on 2016 vehicles earned a “good” rating. In 2018, the best-available headlights on 32 of 165 models earned the highest rating while 58 models were given the second-highest rating. Poor-rated headlights were the only option available for 43 models.

Because models have different options for headlights, IIHS engineers tested a total of 424 headlight variants. The IIHS found a total of 67 percent earned marginal or poor ratings due to factors such as inadequate visibility, excessive glare from low beams for oncoming drivers, or both.

“In the past two years, manufacturers have made changes to improve headlights, whether through better aim or the light source itself,” Aylor said. “But we still see a lot of models where the base headlight is poor, so buyers really have to do their homework to make sure they are getting the best available headlights.”

To read the complete report on car headlights, visit the IIHS website.