High beam headlights are a type of safety device that is installed in all cars and is designed to illuminate the way ahead of you from a larger distance. However, according to a survey conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), less than half of all drivers utilize their high beams because they believe they can see well enough without them.
While the study above reflects driving behavior in the western world, it is the complete opposite in our part of the world. People have the tendency to drive their cars on high beams all of the time, making life difficult for others on the road. The proper application of high beam headlights is a simple approach to improve safety, not only for oneself but also for others.
What are High Beams?
A high beam allows you to brighten your headlights, which are otherwise known as a low beam under normal situations. High beam headlights on some autos utilize a different bulb than low beam headlights. The low-beam mode produces a less strong light that allows a nighttime view of around 200 to 300 feet, or roughly the length of a football field. It may appear to be a long journey, but at 60 mph, it only takes 3.4 seconds to travel that distance. Your high beams are more powerful than your low beams, which are normally activated by pushing or pulling the turn-signal stalk: Depending on the specifications of your lighting system, high beam headlights distance can be lit up to 500 feet.
Other traditional bulbs have two filaments, one for the main beam and the other for the low beam, in the same bulb. When you turn on your high-beam headlights, they become brighter, illuminating a greater area and allowing you to see more of the road ahead of you. This is extremely useful in some instances, however because of the overwhelming brightness, it can be irritating for incoming traffic.
In which situation should you use High Beam Headlights?
- In urban environments, visibility is limited
You can find yourself on a dark city street, on an unfamiliar road, or in a construction zone when driving. It’s unsettling to realize you can’t see the path ahead of you. Slow down if your vision is affected. Turn on your highlights if there are no other vehicles around. Pedestrians and bicyclists on the side of the road or crossing in front of you will be protected by your highlights. State law usually requires you to dim highlights between 300 to 1000 feet of approaching automobiles in urban areas. You must also dim them while you’re within 200 to 300 feet of the car you’re following, particularly at stop signs and traffic lights.
- Interstate highways are a type of highway
Some interstate highways, as well as their on- and off-ramps, may have limited visibility. There may be long stretches of road where your headlights are the only source of light. Use your high-beam headlights to extend your viewing range in low-visibility situations. Even on divided highways, dim your high lights when you’re near other vehicles. For the exact distance your state demands, check with your local DMV. Always reduce your high beams when approaching another vehicle from behind on an interstate highway, at a toll plaza, or in a rest area to prevent blinding the driver.
- There are few street lights in rural areas and country roads
Street lighting on rural roads and open highways may be sparse, making driving at night becomes more dangerous. You’ll be able to see further down the road thanks to your high-beam headlights. Highlights also assist you to avoid hitting animals, bicyclists, or pedestrians out for a late-night stroll in rural regions. While country roads may appear to be deserted, be prepared to immediately decrease your high lights when approaching another vehicle from behind. You will be protecting other drivers by decreasing your high beams.
- When not use your high-beam headlights
When driving in snow, rain, or fog, never use your high-beam headlights. They can make your vision worse in such circumstances. The bright light from the high beams will be reflected back to you by the fog or precipitation. Snowflakes and ice crystals will reflect even more light back to you during a snowfall. The harmful effect is a glaring barrier that makes it even more difficult to see the road.
High-Beam Assist Technology
High-beam assist is a feature found in some newer car models. This feature adjusts the headlights to the proper setting without you having to do anything. Making a habit of correctly operating high-beam and low-beam headlights can keep you safer and possibly spare you a ticket until this technology becomes standard on all vehicles.