The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has published new midsize SUV ratings, with more than half declared marginal or poor.
Of the 19 midsize SUVs and 18 midsize luxury SUVs evaluated in this new round of tests, only the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe and the 2017 Volvo XC60 were the only models available with good-rated headlights. Twelve SUVs are available with headlights rated acceptable, while 23 aren’t available with anything other than marginal- or poor-rated headlights.
“As a group, midsize SUV headlights perform slightly better than the other SUVs and pickups we evaluated last year, and that’s encouraging,” said IIHS Senior Research Engineer Matt Brumbelow.
“Still, we continue to see headlights that compromise safety because they only provide a short view down the road at night.”
The IIHS highlighted that since few consumers test drive a vehicle at night before buying, the ratings help shed light on this basic, yet essential crash avoidance technology.
Nighttime visibility is critical to highway safety because about half of traffic deaths occur either in the dark or at dawn or dusk. Differences in bulb type, headlight technology and even something as basic as how the lights are aimed all affect the amount of useful light supplied. Properly aimed low beams light up the road ahead without temporarily blinding drivers of oncoming vehicles.
In the IIHS tests, engineers measure how far light is projected from a vehicle’s low beams and high beams as the vehicle travels straight and on curves. Glare for oncoming vehicles also is measured from low beams in each scenario to make sure it isn’t excessive.