Elderly drivers being forced off the road by ‘ultra-powerful’ headlights

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At an increasing, and potentially alarming rate, ultra-powerful lights are being installed on cars, which could potentially have disastrous consequences for other road users. Elderly motorists are already susceptible to bright headlights and could be even more at risk when driving at night as it could dazzle them, causing them to lose control.

The College of Optometrists stated that some of its members are seeing an increasing number of patients who have taken themselves off the road, especially when driving at night.

These issues are especially relevant for older drivers with eye conditions, like cataracts, because of the impact from the bright lights, The Telegraph reported.

RAC data shows that 16 percent of motorists avoid driving at night because of the intensity of some headlights on the road.

For those over the age of 65, this figure rises to 25 percent who avoid driving in the dark.

Louise Thomas, car insurance expert at Confused.com, said: “As more ultra-powerful LED lights are being installed on cars, some drivers could be finding it more difficult to drive during the night.

“That’s as reports reveal how these types of headlights could be dazzling drivers more than ever before.

“This could especially be difficult for older drivers or drivers who struggle with their eyesight.”

Further data shows that more than four in five drivers over the age of 65 said dazzling headlights were the most distracting thing when driving at night.

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Ms Thomas added that it is important for drivers to take steps to limit the risk of accidents, especially with illegal headlights becoming more common.

She added: “Doing things like keeping your windscreen clear from dirt can help reduce glare.

“And making sure to adjust rear-view mirrors can also help not being dazzled from vehicles behind.

“If you wear glasses, lenses with an anti-reflective coating can also help to reduce glare. But if the problem persists, it’s worth chatting to an optician as a more long-term solution.”

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When driving, motorists should use low-beam headlights when appropriate to ensure that other people are not dazzled and potentially put at risk.

There are no regulations regarding the intensity of headlights, although it is illegal to retrofit LED lights for vehicles on public roads.

Experts fear that drivers could continue to install piercingly bright headlights as laws are not keeping up with trends and technology.

According to Halfords, there could be as many as 860,000 “aftersale” lights purchased in the UK, with some also being purchased abroad.

In the 10 years before 2022, an annual average of 270 collisions took place, with “dazzling headlights” given as a mitigating factor, Government data shows.

Road safety experts are now calling on the Government to introduce new rules to cut down on the use of alarmingly bright LED lights, while also protecting drivers.

A Department for Transport spokesperson told The Telegraph that all headlights must adhere to strict standards and regulations are in place to minimise the impact of LED lights.

It added: “While data doesn’t link new lighting technology with specific road safety issues, our engineers raised these concerns at an international expert group in April, where it was agreed for new standards around headlamp aiming and levelling systems to further reduce glare.”

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