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Study: Good quality headlights lead to lower risk of car crashes

Driving at night is three times as risky as driving during the day, and experts say headlights can save lives.
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 6:07 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - There’s new information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety about how vital it is for a vehicle’s headlights to be working correctly.

Driving at night is three times as risky as driving during the day, and experts say headlights can save lives.

If they are working well, it only takes about two seconds for a driver to spot something ahead of them in the road.

If they are not, it can take up to six seconds. That’s the difference between being in a crash and not.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety team looked at 44,000 crashes and studied the aftermath. They found cars with headlights that have a good rating were 20 percent less likely to be in a crash than cars with poor headlights.

This graph looks at nighttime crash reductions associated with good, acceptable and marginal...
This graph looks at nighttime crash reductions associated with good, acceptable and marginal headlights.(Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

Good quality headlights also dropped the risk of injury in a crash by 30 percent. Still, only a fifth of cars are running with good quality headlights.

Related: North Carolina has 5th best drivers in America, study says

“The federal regulation for headlights is quite outdated so we would like to see the federal government improve the regulation that exists right now,” a representative with the IIHS said.

The IIHS wants that to be a bigger percentage. They want the government to change how headlights are tested and drivers to prioritize newer, better technology.

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