Poor Performing Pickup Truck Headlights May Increase Risk of Accident, Report Suggests
A new report released by highway safety experts suggests that the majority of pickup trucks on the road in the United States are equipped with inadequate headlights, which poorly illuminate the road, cause excessive glare for oncoming vehicles, and may increase the risk of truck accidents on the nations highways.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) issued the findings of a study on pickup truck headlights last week, which evaluated the performance of nearly a dozen small and large pickup trucks. The findings suggest that only one of the models reviewed was equipped with sufficient roadway lighting and did not cause hazardous glare to oncoming traffic.
The headlight evaluation is the third study of its kind to be performed by the IIHS, with the first two studies focusing on headlight performance of mid-size sedans and small SUV’s. However, the most recent evaluation of pickup truck headlight performance has found the worst overall results, with only the Honda Ridgeline receiving an “acceptable” performance rating, while the others failed.
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“These latest ratings follow the same disappointing pattern as the other groups,” Matthew Brumbelow, an IIHS senior research engineer, said in a press release. “As vehicle safety has improved in recent years, this important equipment has been overlooked.”
The IIHS study evaluated various high and low end models of 11 different pickup trucks that totaled 23 possible headlight combinations. The headlight performance was based on how far the lights illuminated the path of the vehicle both straight ahead and to the sides, and how much glare was put out to drivers of oncoming traffic.
The report concludes that the Honda Ridgeline was equipped with the best overall performing headlights, receiving an acceptable rating. However, the Ford F1-50, the best-selling pickup in the United States, was among one of the worst scored trucks in the study.
Fourteen of the models were found to give off excessive glare contributing to the poor ratings and the majority failed to provide sufficient lighting ahead on straight or curved roads. However, the data showed that higher end models received better ratings than lower end models due to the more luxurious features equipped on the pricier models.
Individually, poor illumination or excessive headlight glare directed toward oncoming traffic increases the risk of a crash. However, a combination of the two can increase the risk of an auto accident even further, the study warns. The IIHS found that many roadway crashes and fatalities are the result of headlight glare, hindering the visibility of the oncoming driver which could make them shift out of their lane.
In all of the IIHS headlight studies, the majority of vehicles failed to produce enough lighting to allow the driver time to avoid an obstacle or safely come to a complete stop. The IIHS recommends that vehicle operators driving with low beams on only should avoid driving over 35 mph.
IIHS launched its headlight rating study after finding that government standards for approved headlights allowed for massive variations in illumination. This recognition prompted the institution to begin investigating how effective headlights were on the majority of the markets most popular models.
Following the realization of the need for improvement in vehicle headlights across all styles and models, the IIHS has subsequently announced that it will be incorporating headlight performance into the criteria for its IIHS Top Safety Pick. The additional criteria for the award is expected to be added as early as 2017.
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