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Curious About Intensity Of Headlights

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More cars are using high intensity discharge lights.

More cars are using high intensity discharge lights.

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BOSTON (CBS) — Driving down the road at night some headlights are so bright it’s hard to see anything else. They’re an intense white and sometimes blue.

Beth from South Easton Declared her Curiosity about these headlights writing, “It seems the lights are bright blue with nearly a high beam range. They’re blinding.”

Rick from Salem added, “They literally blind drivers and are very dangerous. How can they be legal?”

The lights are HIDs, or high intensity discharge lights. They’re made with xenon. Traditional headlights are made with halogen bulbs.

And it’s true, the new lights are brighter.

WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve reports.

Doctors say they get frequent complaints about these lights from people saying they squint because of them, or have problems with glare.

“We have had more and more complaints from patients saying that those blue headlights that I see on the road are very uncomfortable and I really wish they weren’t around,” said Dr. Matthew Gardiner of Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary.

But the intensity may not be the only problem. How they’re installed may be an issue, too.

“The European requirement has an automatic adjustment feature. Essentially what happens is it just levels the headlight out, regardless of the inclination of the vehicle,” explains Sean Kane of Safety Research and Strategies.

He goes on to say that in the U.S. the light may end up aiming too high. Kane says even if you put a lot of people in the backseat that might change the angle at which the headlights shine.

Another problem is that drivers are going to auto repair stores and installing new lights themselves — or going online and getting replacement bulbs which don’t meet federal standards.

Soon more cars will have LED lights which also give off a very bright white light. They’re already in hybrid and electric cars.

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