Safety Technology

Will Headlights Become The Next Weapon In The Fight Against Crashes?

The IIHS thinks so.

Just about everything on a modern automobile is designed with safety in mind. Hell, cup holders may have airbags sooner than later. Now the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, is developing a separate ratings program for headlights. David Zuby, the IIHS’ chief research officer, told Automotive News that a standalone ratings system is currently in development for headlights. If everything works out then headlights could become a requirement for a vehicle to earn a Top Safety+ score by as early as 2017.

The safest type of headlights are the adaptive headlights that use cameras, steering sensors and electric motors to shine light around corners on the road. Zuby adds to this by saying that “the steerable headlights are associated with the largest reductions of crashes reported to insurers.” This claim can be proven with Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo with vehicles from all three manufacturers seeing up to a 10-percent reduction in property damage liability claims compared to cars with fixed headlamps. This is probably thanks to adaptive headlamps becoming a feature on all sorts of cars rather than only being options for luxury cars like how it was in the past.

GM is making its own version of adaptive headlamps and they sound pretty damn futuristic. All in all, adaptive headlamps seem to be the way to go to improve safety but how much better will safety become with this technology? Only time will tell.

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