Keeping your headlights working their best at night

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — How well do the headlights on your car work? Ever thought about it?

Well, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did a study and found only one of 31 midsize cars tested had good headlights; the rest were poor. That included some classes of BMW and Mercedes Benz. On top of that, AAA’s Amy Parmenter says the shield protecting your headlight can turn on you.

“One of the big problems are the headlights these days have a plastic coating on them and after about five years, they become cloudy and the headlight, which wasn’t so great to begin with, becomes even worse,” said Parmenter.

With temperatures warming up, that means more bugs and insects on the road with you and more of a mess on your windshield and headlights. But something you can forget to clean as you do the windshield are your headlights. That’s something Pam Blue is constantly reminding her husband.

“Every time I clean my car, I try to remember to clean the headlights, especially on my husband’s car because he never cleans them,” said Blue.

The Institute for Highway Safety says one of the biggest problems with headlights is that they slip through the cracks. The federal government hasn’t upgraded the regulations on headlights since the 1960s. All they do is measure how much light is coming out right at the lamp, they don’t take into account how far the beam is thrown, reflection, or glare.

Parmenter says the government should take another look at the lights because there are better alternatives out there.

“We are trying to work with lawmakers to update the standards because there are headlights in Europe, for example, that are much better than what we use here in the states,” said Parmenter.

AAA also says when appropriate, use your high-beams. Less than 20 percent of drivers use them, and they can make a big difference.

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