Vehicles with “good” headlights as standard are still rare, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The IIHS says that although more vehicles are available with headlights which illuminate an acceptable distance ahead without blinding oncoming drivers in 2020 than in previous years, there are still few base models with headlights which earn a “good” rating in its tests.
“Many carmakers still treat high-quality headlights as extras, rather than essential safety features,” said David Aylor, Manager of Active Safety Testing at IIHS. “Leather seats and sunroofs are nice, but you need high-quality headlights to avoid hazards.”
About half of all fatal crashes in the US occur in the dark, and more than a quarter occur on unlit roads.
For the first time in 2020, headlights that earn at least an acceptable rating must be installed across all the variants for sale, rather than merely available as options, for a vehicle to qualify for the highest IIHS award, Top Safety Pick+.
IIHS rates headlights on the distance that they illuminate the road as the vehicle travels straight and on curves. Points are deducted for headlights which produce glare that can momentarily blind oncoming drivers.