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30 % of drivers don't use their high beam even when it is better to do so
Hella: proper use of the high beam
Is an essential safety, not an offense

High beam use is not always offensive. If nobody's going to be dazzled, it is a major safety contributor.

If nobody is going to be dazzled, high beam is a major safety element.

30th January 2006.

No doubt that low beam has improved considerably over the years. According to headlight manufacturer Hella, it offers today twice the visibility that was obtainable some fifty years ago.

Yet, no car driver should do without using high beam. Used correctly, it is a piece of safety equipment, not an impoliteness or a compulsion.

Scientific investigations in the USA prove that people often drive with low beam even when there is no other car to be seen far and wide.

Researchers from the University of Michigan* observed this behaviour in around 30 percent of vehicles on a country road at night.

When oncoming traffic appeared now and again, the number of those not interested in using high beam increased to even 50 percent.

In contrast to this, the lighting specialists from Hella advise car drivers to make active use of high beam, especially in country areas and forests which are abundant with animals. High beam offers there a considerable benefit in terms of visibility and safety.

A driver who on winding roads or before the tops of hills sees only the gleam of light from a car and not the car itself does not yet have reason to dip his or her headlights. No-one will be dazzled in such a situation.

As soon as the oncoming traffic has gone past, high beam can be switched on again. This prevents driving into a “black hole”.

When overtaking, the correct moment to switch over to spotlights is when the relevant cars are at the same level. Both car drivers then benefit from the greater range of the light, unless of course, other oncoming cars are visible on other lanes.

In comparison with low beam, high beam offers at least two-and-a-half times the visibility.

Those people who make use of high beam often will notice that it does not disturb anyone. In future, it will even be possible to let intelligent electronics take care of switching between high and low beam . A camera-controlled high-beam assistant which changes automatically from low beam to high beam and back is already in series use (BMW offers this option on some models). Naturally, the driver can intervene at any time and switch over himself/herself.

See also the topic about the effect of dirt on light efficiency and dazzling.

* High-beam headlamp usage on unlighted rural roadways. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Ann Arbor, Michigan, February 2003 (Report-No. UMTRI-2003-2).

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