Modern headlights are dazzling drivers

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Drivers are being temporarily blinded by modern vehicle headlights, according to a survey by the RAC.

Two-thirds (65%) of motorists said they regularly get dazzled by oncoming headlights even though they are dipped.

What's more, 15% claim they have nearly suffered a collision as a result of being dazzled by modern headlights that they believe are too bright.

And although older drivers are known to have difficulty when driving at night due to glare from headlights, the RAC survey found that the dazzling effect of some new car headlights is similar among drivers of all ages.

Of those who said they are often left dazzled by oncoming dipped headlights, the majority felt it takes up to five seconds before they can see clearly again. An alarming 10% said it takes up to 10 seconds before their vision is back to normal, and only 16% said it takes less than a second to recover.

A driver recovering from being dazzled by headlights for five seconds while driving at 60mph would cover a distance of 134 metres, which is more than the length of a football pitch.

Six in 10 (58%) motorists said they believe modern vehicle headlights are so bright that they risk causing other motorists to have accidents.

What does the law say?

All cars sold for road use in the UK have to be fitted with headlamps that conform to standards set by the EU in line with the United Nations' World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations. A UN working party is currently looking at the issue of headlight glare in response to public concerns.

Is there anything you can do?

Motorists who experience general issues with glare when driving at night should contact an optician for advice, the RAC says. Some glasses-wearers may benefit from having an ultra-violet coating on their lenses which can help reduce glare. Similarly, non-glasses-wearers might find it useful to purchase some non-prescription UV-coated glasses for driving at night.

Do you find yourself dazzled by the headlights on newer vehicles?

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