Monday, May 14, 2007

Xenon headlights danger alert

I bet you have read about the dangers posed by drivers of cars with HID or "xenon" headlights not properly adjusted to the correct beam level.

Some of you might even have experienced the "blinding" glare of such lights coming to you head-on.

I almost became a "road accident statistic" due to one such incident recently along the dark winding road of Seremban-Jelebu, but luckily, I survived to tell the tale, or in this case, to blog about it here now.

It was a harrowing experience, to say the least.

According to the Wikipedia, these xenon headlights are actually automotive HID lamps using xenon gas in the lamps. HID stands for high-intensity discharge, the technical term for the electric arc that produces the light.

Despite marketing claims to the contrary, HID headlamps' light output is not similar to daylight. The spectral power distribution (SPD) of an automotive HID headlamp is discontinuous, while the SPD of a filament lamp, like that of the sun, is a continuous curve.

European vehicles equipped with HID headlamps are required by ECE regulation 48 also to be equipped with headlamp lens cleaning systems and automatic beam levelling control. Both of these measures are intended to reduce the tendency for high-output headlamps to cause high levels of glare to other road users.

The arc light source in an HID headlamp is fundamentally different from the filament light source used in tungsten/halogen headlamps. For that reason, HID-specific optics are used to collect and distribute the light. Installing HID bulbs in headlamps designed to take filament bulbs results in improperly-focused beam patterns and excessive glare, and is therefore illegal in almost all countries.

Do we have similar regulations in our country governing the use of HID headlights?

If not, why not?

Can you imagine if more than 50% of the vehicles on Malaysian roads are installed with poorly adjusted xenon lights, and half of them are on MPVs and other such similar big cars, how pleasant can it be for the driver in a poorly lit road?

These are just accidents waiting to happen.

Can something be done to address this issue?



Anonymous Wahlau.NET said...

it is kinda good to move the slow car aside from the fast lane...i though it would be good for me to install one in the future

14/5/07 20:11  
Blogger Helen said...

AMEN!! Finally somebody said it!

I cannot agree with you more and I thought I was the only paranoid one out there. SO many times I've encountered these glaring and blinding lights from on coming vehicles. Especially big SUVs. Some of these models even boast of having 'diamond' cut glass design to maximize the light.

Glad you're OK after the close call. :-)

15/5/07 14:05  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

Helen: Thanks for the concern, and I'm really glad you are back after the unexpected absence! :-)

I guess road bullies who love such lights won't feel the love here! :-(

15/5/07 18:04  
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23/2/10 21:07  

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