Every year, there are variations in the number of car accident fatalities, but one fact remains the same — more fatal car accidents occur at night than in the daytime hours.Nighttime driving comes with its own set of challenges, and one of those is the lack of adequate roadway lighting.A new study focuses on the potential for improving nighttime driving through more advanced automobile headlight systems.
The research was recently presented at the International Symposium on Automotive Lighting in Germany.One scientist involved in the study presented a paper outlining the different types of lighting technologies that can help make nighttime driving both safer and easier.Specifically, these technologies involve headlights that can focus light onto particularly tricky and dangerous roadways.This would be done by using headlights that swivel or bend to put more light onto the turn of the road.
According to the report that was presented at the conference, earlier studies that compared cars equipped with these headlight systems and vehicles with conventional low beam headlights, found that the number of accidents occurring at night actually dropped. For instance, there was a drop of approximately 4% in nighttime accident frequency along low-speed roads. On high-speed roads with shallower curves, the drop was between 1% and 2%.
An earlier study into high beam anti-glare headlights was presented at The Eye, The Brain and The Auto research Congress in Michigan in September. At that conference, researchers presented a paper in which they analyzed the performance and safety of high-beam headlights that come with selective dimming powers, a feature that puts high-beams on certain sections of the road. These headlights are already beginning to appear in certain vehicle models, and do a much better job of illuminating roadways (especially curves) due to the lack of glare.
According to data, the rate of nighttime accidents could be reduced by as much as 7% by using such adaptive high-beam headlight systems.
Maintaining adequate roadway lighting has always been a challenge for state and federal administrations, and the onslaught of budget cuts only makes the task more difficult.Therefore, it is encouraging to see automakers investing in technologies that can help increase visibility at night, and will further reduce the risk of accidents for motorists.