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The topic of lighting

The topic of lighting

The topic of lighting

(OP)
I thought that years ago there were limits on candle power of automotive lighting that the DOT set. Am I the only one that is blinded by the overly bright led and other lights on newer cars? It seems the trend started over 10 years ago, to install blindingly bright lights on vehicles. Has anyone ever done any research on how safe all these new lights are on our eyes?

RE: The topic of lighting

The original lighting system is subject to FMVSS 108 which hasn't changed in a long time ... too long. (The standard is outdated) It most certainly sets limits on brightness and beam patterns.

IIHS is aware of this, and (recently) have started evaluating headlights: https://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/ratings-info/hea...

Glare for oncoming vehicles is part of their evaluation.

The bigger problem - much bigger - happens when people retrofit cheap HID or LED light sources into headlight housings that were originally designed for halogen bulbs. About 90% of the aftermarket retrofits are garbage - putting not enough light down the road where the driver can use it, while spilling too much light above the correct beam pattern and into the eyes of oncoming drivers ... that's glare. There are some aftermarket parts that do okay and have decent beam patterns ... but they're not the cheapest; so the average person buying them doesn't buy those, they buy the cheaper parts instead ... and they end up with crap lighting that works poorly for themselves while blinding everyone else.

And the worst offenders of all ... "Light bars", used most commonly by the lifted 4x4 crowd. Those make no attempt at all to aim light down the road. They light up the ground immediately in front of the vehicle, do nothing far down the road, and spill most of the light to their surroundings (blinding oncoming drivers). I get the real purpose of these for off-roading and rock crawling in the dark, where perhaps you need to light up your immediate surroundings, but they have no business being used on public roads.

Your suggestion that this started about 10 years ago roughly coincides with common and cheap availability of HID lighting in the aftermarket. LED and the aforementioned "light bars" are more recent than that.

RE: The topic of lighting

There has always been differences between what is DOT approved and what is approved for use in Europe.. VWs from the early 2000s had absolutely horrible DOT approved headlights. European ecodes were a huge improvement , with zero increase in wattage and were focused so as not to cause dazzling / blindness to oncoming traffic. But you are right, these days so many people install high output lighting systems without upgrading their reflectors. This is largely ignorance on the part of the owners , but I dont know the DOT regulations or how aggressively the authorities chose ( not ) to prosecute offenders.

RE: The topic of lighting

Around here, there is almost no enforcement of vehicle lighting except at the time of transferring ownership of the vehicle, at which time it needs a safety inspection, which should catch gross violations.

Another weakness of the North American standards, which bugs me even more, is that they did not anticipate the possibility of vehicles being produced with instrument lighting that is on all the time, thus removing the main visual cue that people used to establish whether their outside lighting was on. Daytime running lights that are bright enough to kindasorta see ahead (e.g. vehicles that use the low beam headlights as daytime running lights) contribute to this because now those drivers lose another visual cue that they've forgotten to turn on the lights. The result is numerous vehicles driving around in the dark with their outside lighting off.

GM got this right, with headlight switches that default to "auto"; you can switch to "off" but you have to intentionally do that every time you start it up. VW kinda got it; they want the driver to use the switch but they kill instrument lighting when it starts getting dark to prompt the driver to use the switch. Many, many other manufacturers got it wrong, and I will specifically call out Hyundai, Honda, Toyota (and their sub-brands), Ford, and FCA for getting it wrong. My own car has a TFT display as the instrument cluster, which inherently is lit all the time, but I know where the little green "lights on" indicator is ... lots of people don't. Also, with my own car (FCA), you can simply leave the light switch in the on position all the time ... it turns the lights off automatically when you switch the ignition off anyhow.

Canada is fixing this. They're changing CMVSS 108 to require either automatic outside lighting, or outside lighting on all the time, or no lighting of the instrument cluster when outside lights are not on, at the manufacturer's choice; the point being that the combination instrument lights on + outside lighting off + dark outside is disallowed. Doesn't fix the many cars on the road that already have it wrong, but at least it will be foxed going forward (from 2021 when this takes effect).

RE: The topic of lighting

I agree that the aftermarket is the biggest problem. There are numerous outfits selling all kinds of inappropriate HID & LED bulbs for vehicles that should only be using halogen bulbs. Don't even get me started on the off road light bars, those things can blind you even in daylight. I frequent several brand specific auto forums and huge number of posts are about how dim stock headlights are and what sort of aftermarket bulbs can be used. Anytime someone with some actual knowledge posts not to use inappropriate bulbs they immediately get shouted down.

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The Help for this program was created in Windows Help format, which depends on a feature that isn't included in this version of Windows.

RE: The topic of lighting

Quote (BrianPeterson)

Another weakness of the North American standards, which bugs me even more, is that they did not anticipate the possibility of vehicles being produced with instrument lighting that is on all the time, thus removing the main visual cue that people used to establish whether their outside lighting was on. Daytime running lights that are bright enough to kindasorta see ahead (e.g. vehicles that use the low beam headlights as daytime running lights) contribute to this because now those drivers lose another visual cue that they've forgotten to turn on the lights. The result is numerous vehicles driving around in the dark with their outside lighting off.

GM got this right, with headlight switches that default to "auto"; you can switch to "off" but you have to intentionally do that every time you start it up. VW kinda got it; they want the driver to use the switch but they kill instrument lighting when it starts getting dark to prompt the driver to use the switch.
This whole thing is a symptom of the trend toward designing passenger cars to be driven by monkeys instead of drivers that are "on the ball".

"Schiefgehen wird, was schiefgehen kann" - das Murphygesetz

RE: The topic of lighting

I hate to burst peoples' bubbles, but people drove without their lights on in the "good ole days" too. Or, they had "one-eyed wonders," but there's not much one can do about the latter.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: The topic of lighting

I'm sure I see a lot more "one-eyed wonders" these days - plus cars with a tail-light or brake-light out.

I put it down to extended service intervals, owners stretching service intervals, owners doing their own oil changes. Cars see a mechanic less often so more time spent driving with a blown bulb before it gets detected.

je suis charlie

RE: The topic of lighting

My Honda's auto setting means that the lights come on when I remote open it. So I get to do an impromptu visual inspection every morning, as I walk around to the driver's door. And then as I reverse out of my space, I see my reversing lights reflected in a neighbour's window behind, followed by my brake lights. All unplanned, but a great routine to be in.

Steve

RE: The topic of lighting

True that there have always been people who didn't turn on their lights, but the number is vastly higher now that so many vehicles have instrument lighting that is on all the time.

When I am on my motorcycle, I yell "Turn your lights on" at them if I happen to stop beside them at an intersection, and it's almost always a sheepish reaction because they hadn't realised that they weren't on.

RE: The topic of lighting

Agreed. Increasing automation equals decreasing awareness for many (most?) people. Add in the prevalent attitude of "there's a guy to fix that", and the relative complexity of cars these days, and you end up with one large group of people who don't have a clue and can't afford to pay someone to fix it for them.
So then they try to fix it themselves, using advice off the Internet from other people who don't really know what they're doing either, and suddenly it's dangerous.
Or, totally screwed and will now cost 3x to repair.
I always insisted on teaching all the kids basic maintenance on cars and household stuff - despite the complaining and lack of interest - but, now they're getting into their 20s and 30s, they're finally understanding why. I personally find the current educational and social trends... disturbing, to say the least.

RE: The topic of lighting

Getting back to the burned out tail lights and turn signals and to some extent Mongrel's disturbing educational trends.
It seem I see this a lot more these days. Which makes me ask:
Do todays vehicle turn signals still flash super fast when I bulb is burned out?

I remember my father teaching me that, as a way that indicates (get it, indicates, we are discussing turn signals, ha ha, each and every one of you owe me one uncontrolled bursts of laughter) a bulb is out.

RE: The topic of lighting

Yes, the fast flashing is a FMVSS/CMVSS 108 requirement. In many cases, it will flash (and click) fast for the driver while the remaining still-working outside lights still flash at the normal rate, though!

Countering the lack of daily safety checks ... a lot of cars have self-diagnosing lighting. If there is a burned bulb, a burned-bulb indicator pops up on the instrument cluster and it writes out a message for the driver on the display indicating which one is out ... Both of my current vehicles do that.

RE: The topic of lighting

I think those same people would have driven without their headlights, even in an older car. No reflection from the roadway or the car in front of you is usually a pretty good indication that your headlights are off. I had to replace a headlight a while ago; it was awkward and I thought I got it on correctly, but it was immediately obvious the the headlight was pointing down when I pulled up behind another car waiting the stoplight and could only see one headlight reflecting back.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: The topic of lighting

Almost without exception, the drivers that I yell at to turn their lights on, have instrument lighting that is on all the time (I can see it when doing so) ...

RE: The topic of lighting

At one time, you could buy a generic turn flasher that was rated for the number of bulbs that it would operate. Of course this was a resistance rating. The flashing rate changed if a bulb dropped out.
Do they still use electrical resistance in cars today?

RE: The topic of lighting

That's how automatic bulb monitoring works ... but it's done solid-state through the lighting control module and for all bulbs that it is connected to. The module knows how much resistance the circuit is supposed to have when the bulb is off and how much current it's supposed to draw when on. No more hard-wired flasher relays.

RE: The topic of lighting

(OP)
Tail lights can be the worst offenders. There are many times at night I have to shield my eyes sitting in traffic or just normal driving, from the overly bright brake lights. When a person has to start wearing shade 5 welding glasses at night to drive, that will be way more dangerous than dimming the stupid lights down to a more bearable brightness.

RE: The topic of lighting

What I find most troublesome are the new flashing red and blue LED police lights. They are truly blinding when you approach a police car that has someone pulled-over on the side of the road at night. Every year there is a boondoggle between Kentucky and Tennessee police where they get together and set-up road blocks to check for drunk drivers, paid for by the Feds through "training funds". The last one I went through there were 15 police cars in one spot, all with their lights flashing. You could see the glow in the night sky from miles away.

RE: The topic of lighting

I was checking the new C8 Corvette. I understand the on-board computer will be relying on "The Cloud". This will just be for updates only, kind of like with Windows 10?

RE: The topic of lighting

My C7 gets some updates via the On-Star antennas... mind you, I never signed up for On-Star and don't pay any monthly bills for it, but I suppose it's too convenient for GM not to broadcast firmware updates to every available vehicle.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

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