You know who you are. The vehicle that’s blinding me with your 900 trillion lumen super-ultra-bright headlights.

Yep. I just flashed my brights at you…and you still didn’t dim for me. What’s your problem? Oh wait, you just hit your dims as just as you drove past me. That did me a lot of good.

Has this happened to you? Of course, it has.

Have you ever wondered about the rules about when you should dim your headlights? Here ya go:

Iowa Legislation states:

Whenever a driver of a vehicle approaches an oncoming vehicle within one thousand feet, the driver shall use a distribution of light, or composite beam, so aimed that the glaring rays are not projected into the eyes of the oncoming driver. The lowermost distribution of light, or composite beam, shall be deemed to avoid glare at all times, regardless of road contour and loading AND whenever the driver of a vehicle follows another vehicle within four hundred feet to the rear, except when engaged in the act of overtaking and passing.

One thousand feet is around three city blocks or over three football fields. Oh, and don’t forget when you’re blasting your high beams at me from behind – Iowa Legislation states you should dim your lights within the length of a football field which is slightly over the length of a city block.

This also includes driving on the interstate. 

How can you tell if someone has high beams on them?

Well, besides audibly swearing at the oncoming driver, most of the time, a car's high beams are located closer to its grill in the center of the front of the car, while the low beams are located towards the outside of the car.

If someone is piercing your eyeballs with high beams, don’t look directly into the headlights, look towards the right side of your lane.

Are headlights getting brighter?

Yeah, it’s not just your eyes getting worse. Stock or replacement halogen bulbs will emit around 700 Lumens in low beam. The Lumens rating of the high beam will be around 1,200 Lumens. But Xenon bulbs are many times brighter than halogen. A typical high-intensity discharge (HID) or Xenon bulb (filled with Xenon gas) is rated at around 3000 Lumens, which is up to three times brighter than the Halogen Lumens.

Oh, and now there is something called “Smart Headlights”

Despite the name, they aren’t perfect. According to Autoweek, rather than the driver or changing between two brightness settings, these light systems use sensors and special light unit designs that can change the shape, brightness, and direction of the light. But, if you’re driving in an area with traffic and streetlights, they can become confused and leave the bright beams on when they shouldn’t. They aren’t available in the U.S…..yet.


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