You’ve seen them on the road. You may have even been momentarily blinded by them. These bright blue bulbs are gaining popularity, but are they safe? Are they legal?
Keep reading to learn the answers, plus much more.
Understanding Blue Headlights
There are two main types of blue headlights: high-intensity discharge lights (HID) and xenon HID lights. Both types of headlights are brighter (and bluer) than traditional halogen bulbs, and drivers are taking notice. According to a study from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT), 88% of drivers surveyed noticed a substantial glare and visual impairment when faced with blue headlights.
High-Intensity Discharge Lights
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “HID lamps are more intense than halogen headlamps,” so it makes sense that drivers experience more discomfort when faced with these lights.
However, the optical designs of the lights play a large role in whether the illuminations disturb nearby drivers.
Since HID lamps are more intense, they can cause more glare when they are not properly aimed or when traveling on curved or hilly roadways. Nearby drivers are more visually impaired when the lamps point upward, but when the lights are pointed downward, the illumination distance decreases significantly.
All aftermarket HID lights, including retrofitted headlights are unlawful in New York. These types of headlights are only legal if the vehicle is equipped with them from the factory.
Xenon HID Lights
Xenon is a subtype of HID lamp that features Xenon gas rather than other alternatives. These lamps illuminate a warmer light that mimics daylight more effectively than other types of HID lamps.
Since Xenon lights are so bright, they make driving at night a bit easier for the person driving the car, but all the drivers nearby will have a harder time seeing. These lights produce a significant amount of glare, which can easily reflect in other drivers’ mirrors.
In order for Xenon HID lights to be legal, they must exactly match an H1 (basic halogen) bulb’s filament size and placement, electrical connector, and ballast. Since this is an impossible standard to meet (halogen bulls don’t even utilize ballasts), your vehicle must be equipped with Xenon HID lights from the factory to be considered legal. There are currently no legal Xenon HID conversion kits in the state of New York (even if they claim to be DoT certified).
We’re Here to Help
If you’ve been injured in a car accident after being temporarily blinded from another car’s blue headlights, or for any other reason, you may be owed compensation. Let our team see if we can help you recover it.
Call the New York lawyers at The Ahearne Law Firm, PLLC today at (845) 763-4100 to speak with an accomplished attorney about your case.