Night driving visibility challenges
Certain driving circumstances can pose special safety challenges for drivers. One such set of driving circumstances is driving at night. Among the challenges that night driving can pose to drivers are visibility challenges.
There are some types of roads where there can be particularly big visibility issues for drivers at night. One such road type are roads that do not have any overhead lighting. Many rural roads fall into this category. A recent set of AAA tests underscores how challenging, visibility-wise, these types of roads can be at night.
The tests looked at how different types of headlights performed on unlit roads.
The most common headlight type are halogen headlights. Currently, over 80 percent of motor vehicles use this type of headlight. The study found that this headlight type, even at some relatively moderate speeds, can fail to light up an unlit roadway to as great of an extent as would be safe. Specifically, the tests found that these headlights might fail to provide a safe level of road illumination on unlit roadways when a vehicle is travelling at least 40 mph for the regular headlight setting and over 48 mph for the high-beam setting.
Light emitting diode headlights and high intensity discharge headlights, two more advanced headlight types, did better than the halogen headlights in the tests, but still showed some limitations when it came to safely illuminating unlit roads at certain speeds.
Not having the road in front of them safely illuminated can greatly reduce the visibility level a driver has when driving at night on an unlit road. Thus, these test findings illustrate some of the visibility challenges that drivers can face when driving on unlit roads at night.