On Idaho’s rural roads full of animals, rivers, and cliffs, a good pair of headlights can save your life.
Although there are aftermarket headlights available for drivers, standard issue lights had never been rated until now.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a list that assesses and categorizes all brands of 2016 cars and how their headlights measure up to the competition.
“We were aware it had come out and Triple AAA immediately jumped on it. It’s pretty big stuff,” Triple AAA spokesman Dave Carlson explained. “I think the new study brings light to some things. It’s going to change the framework. We haven’t had the framework and changes in the rules in this country for about a half a century because no one has thought about it.
Of the 31 mid-sized sedans, only one vehicle earned a “good“ rating. The Toyota Prius V. However, the study noted that the headlights that performed well were only available on higher cost models of the Prius. Without dropping the extra cash, the Prius falls back into a poor rating.
Even luxury vehicles like the BMW three series only projects 130 feet down the right edge of a straight away. The Prius beams about 400 feet.
“The troubling news is that headlights tested fail to adequately illuminate unlit roadways at speeds as low as 40 mph,” Carlson explained. “If you cannot see what’s ahead, you will not be able to stop in an emergency.”
Some other poorly ranked vehicles on the list include the Cadillac ATS, the Buick Verano, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
“If you’re having trouble seeing behind the wheel at night, it could be very well your headlights and not your eyes that are to blame,” says David Zuby, IIHS Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer.