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Why is America stuck with bad headlights? (caranddriver.com)
368 points by jbredeche 87 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 471 comments



groups like Audi/Porsche/BMW have trouble bringing their fancy LED setups to America due to laws pertaining to high / low beams -- meanwhile every Jack and Jill on the road has glaringly illegal aftermarket Xenon bulb setups in refractor headlight housings rather than proper projectors, blinding the hell out of everyone on the road, and the police seem to do nothing about it.

I mean, hey -- i'm usually happy about automotive modifications that the police leave me alone about, but this aftermarket headlight trend is many times worse than a nuisance loud exhaust -- it can literally blind you for seconds during night driving.


The worst thing to happen to America was Autozone and Fast and Furious. Cheap aftermarket modifications to your car being sold to people with no knowledge of what they were doing but wanted it too look cool cause they saw it in the movie. Its led to years of teenagers with no training putting things on their cars that turn them into obnoxious spectacles on the road.

I know I sound like an old coot but frankly I'm glad my dad showed me how to install/aim headlights and along with explaining the benefits of a working unmodified exhaust system and how it should sound.


I guess I'm really old.

Before Fast and Furious, I lived through the slammed mini truck / monster car stereo (speakers, speakers, speakers) craze of the late 80s.

And before that there were many, many trends, like muscle cars, etc.

It's always been like this...


The Fast and Furious franchise is, not unlike the late 2pac, a reflection of the community. A percentage of America has always been modding their cars and an even larger percentage enjoys dreaming about modding cars - the films draw from that, not the other way around.


It's a mutual thing. The Fast and Furious franchise draws from the car culture in America, but the car culture in America also draws from the Fast and Furious franchise. If the director had chosen to highlight slightly different aspects or de-emphasize certain aspects, car culture in America would be different (though stray too far, and F&F is potentially no longer the same mega-hit).


In other words, it’s the age-old question: does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? The answer, of course, is “yes.”


The street races in San Jose looked pretty much just like F&F long before the movie came out.


How is Tupac relevant?


Artists being blamed for causing preexistent negative phenomena that served as the inspiration for their art. Tupac's lyrics were blamed for being a cause of violence while in reality they were a reflection of the violence that was already there.


ah good ol’ C. Delores Tucker (you’s a motherfucker)


...."got money for wars, but still can feed the poor"... #merica


How did 2pac get in the conversation about aftermarket car modifications?


That's the reason the Fast franchise is some 8+ films in and still doing $500M+ box offices.

It's also a good reason documentaries, classical and jazz music, and non-fiction books in all but self-help and cookbooks sell poor. I'd love to see a huge textbook covering pre-Calc through intros to harder topics like Real Analysis and Stochastics top the bestsellers for 22 weeks. But instead, people are buying the 5,431st political commentary about how we'll never recover from Trump unless we do everything the author says.


[flagged]


I preface my comment with, I have a math degree.

First, I'm not sure what politics versus math reading has to do with the topic at hand - namely, car headlights. Second, you're complaining about downvotes. Third, you're complaints sound like "kids get off my lawn". So yeah... that's why you're getting downvoted.

To more directly engage with your point, politics isn't just an exercise in group think. It has very real consequences for many people - consider the number of deaths per capita in Germany versus that of Sweeden. The difference in response is one partly of politics and resulted in unnecessary deaths.


I appreciate your argument. What I was trying to point out was that the obsession with car modding is why films in the Fast franchise, even a decade after the first one debuted at the box office, still do extremely well. They're sheer entertainment, just fast driving with some plot points to justify the next action sequence.

What didn't land for you, maybe for more people, was that documentaries, classical and jazz, etc. are not as appreciated because they require some effort to understand and thereby appreciate. That was my point about wishing a textbook would top the bestsellers list and not yet another book shilling apocalyptic hypotheticals about Donald Trump that the author always has some magical cure for. It's like self-help politics, but The Secret is "impeach Donald Trump", every time. It's easy. It's low brow after the first dozen books, as it only intends to satisfy helpless aggression in readers. And while it's nothing new, I wish people were as enthralled with a book teaching math or chemistry or accounting. You know, stuff that's useful to people.

If someone wants to write a book about the process of governance, that's one thing. But if it's another pseudo-analysis-by-way-of-emotion book, it's disingenuous to suggest an anti-Trump political commentary is any more useful today than anything written by Ann Coulter.


I wanted to respond to your comment that started

> I've been here off and on for almost 9 years.

But it's flagged / dead.

Anyway. I'm not a Wrongthink Troll. Just a guy, probably more like you than not in most ways... that has a low tolerance for self-aggrandizing behavior. The tone of the post I replied to just rubbed me the wrong way.

I apologize for the unconstructive nature of my comment. I should have said nothing. Now I just feel like the Tone Police... And nobody likes that.


I guess you are new here, but HN is heavily, heavily edited and moderated. Posts get killed all the time, if they don't have their titles changed or URLs swapped, for not being exactly what certain people want, and other posts resurrected because the founder didn't get sufficient traffic.

Comments get rethreaded and killed at the drop of a hat as well. The buried comment was a non-mainstream opinion, so not welcome here. We have a flag on the profile screen to see hidden posts and they are often the best posts that point out when something makes no sense, but just happen to be worded slightly rude to someone else's point of view.

It's definitely not a place for free thought and people voting up discussable viewpoints they don't happen to agree with. You should just take it as a heavily curated slice of SV echochamber that you can examine, but not modify.


> if they don't have their titles changed or URLs swapped, for not being exactly what certain people want, and other posts resurrected because the founder didn't get sufficient traffic.

Disingenuous headlines are a huge problem and are part of "spin" (aka marketing or propaganda effort).

All available research -- plus tons of anecdotal experience on /. or HN or reddit -- shows that people never read the links that are posted, and, if they did click the link, probably won't read 100% of it. Most people share links without reading articles as well.

The headline is what generates the controversy, and should reflect the actual or original content of the piece. I am okay with mods changing headlines to reflect that. I have no doubt this is a SV echo chamber -- but it's a news aggregator run by Y-combinator, what the hell did you expect?

See also: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/nosacredcows/2018/09/study-con...

https://slate.com/technology/2013/06/how-people-read-online-...

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/why-we-do...

http://thesciencepost.com/study-70-of-facebook-commenters-on...


Don't forget the folks in the 40's taking those old trucks and turning them into hot-rods.

The car modification scene is only slightly younger than the car.


My uncle told me stories about living in rural Michigan, and how the first thing that people did when a road got paved in the area was set up a quarter mile marker.


For non mid west born ppl,

A dragstrip is a facility for conducting automobile and motorcycle acceleration events such as drag racing.

Although a quarter mile (1320 feet, 402 m) is the best known measure for a drag track, many tracks are eighth mile (201 m) tracks, and the premiere classes will run 1,000 foot (304.8m) races


US people and their weird measurements :P

But honestly, why these lengths specifically?


1/8th mile = 1 furlong.

Many short races, for feet or horses, that started way back when are some number of furlongs.


Now THAT is an interesting information, never heard of "furlongs" before!


It's a fantastic unit if you need to convert distances from metric to imperial, because 1 furlong = ~200 meters. So if you tell someone something is half a kilometer away and they ask what that is in imperial, you can quickly respond "2 1/2 furlongs".


A furlong, the approximate distance that an average draft horse can pull a single-bottom plow before needing a rest, is my favorite measurement because it sounds so grounded in reality. It's just how long the furrow is.

Right next to the parsec, but only because of the Star Wars references :-)


Snails are rated in furlongs per fortnight.


As much as we like to point fingers over the Atlantic, here in the UK our roads are mostly imperial except heights and widths which are in both feet and metres, because lorry drivers from the Continent kept crashing into bridges!


They are even (in our wierd measument system), and reasonable distances for different engines to run out of power/traction/other factor and thus not accelerate as much.


Important also to note that a quarter mile is the unit at which one quantize one's life.


Car culture in SE MI is truly a thing of beauty and wonder.


What struck me back then, was how Fast and Furious and Need for Speed influenced each other.


It makes sense, the game devs saw how well the FnF movies did and wanted a slice of the pie.

It worked out so well because it gave people a way to experience car modding and illegal street racing in their own living room. If people are getting their kicks from street racing games... maybe we should make more street racing movies.

I think the nost blatent was when Tokyo drift came out, the next NfS had drift races.


I remember some Underground or Underground 2 cutscene or run that was identical to a run in FnF; I always assumed that they did a collab.


I think it's great that it's relatively common to work on a complex piece of machinery that you use daily. You get the joys of understanding how a large system works and being able to tweak it according to your desires. It could easily go the other way, where every subsystem is DRM'd and only licensed professionals were allowed to touch it.

Letting anyone do whatever they want can obviously lead to problems, like headlights that blind people or parts that fall off and kill the person behind them. But overall, I think I like the world where people are free to experiment and create.


>every subsystem is DRM'd and only licensed professionals were allowed to touch it

Kind of like how smartphones are right now.


BMW is doing it right now - some of their US cars will come with features locked behind a subscription model. Want heated seats? They are $99 a year, you get a free 14 day trial to see if you like the feature. Same with adaptive cruise, with more advanced media features etc etc. Their argument is that vast majority of new BMWs in US are leased, so it's "better" for customers to lease a basic model for less, and then pay extra for features you want.

The obvious question here is - if you make these features work without paying(assuming you paid for the car outright), is that illegal? After all, you own the heated seats - you just installed an extra switch to put them on.


Because they're physical features already installed, it'll probably be okay. Will void your warranty, but nothing the MFG can do. Same way retuning your ECU to make more power works.

Versus something like hacking a subscription for satellite radio, where the feature in question is the content the service is providing, which is easier to frame as illegal.

Then there's the case of hacking hour Tesla to enable autopilot. The hardware is there (like the seats) but the functionality is continually updated via subscription.

I look forward to the lawsuits, with the hope that the consumer prevails.


> if you make these features work without paying(assuming you paid for the car outright), is that illegal? After all, you own the heated seats - you just installed an extra switch to put them on.

If you try and hack through the DRM on the controller, they might try and get you for copyright infringement on the software on the controller. But if you just write your own controller, things might be different.


Having features like heated seats tied to a subscription crosses the line. It's one thing to install them in all cars as an additional feature that can be enabled, but charging a subscription for it is ludicrous.

I don't mind soft-locked features too much since it can be cheaper for the manufacturer to just install it on everything than to build two separate models; plus it can be nice as a consumer to still have those additional features available if you change your mind later.


Well, Tesla has started some time ago - the most basic model 3(the one you can only order over the phone and in their centres) comes with heated seats disabled by software and you can pay Tesla to unlock it for a fee. But at least once you did they stayed unlocked forever*

*Well, there's been one case where a second hand Tesla lost all the extra features that were paid for by the previous owner and Tesla argued that the new owner had to pay again, but I think after media complained they backed off and reenabled it


> But overall, I think I like the world where people are free to experiment and create.

Then get a guitar or a paint brush.


> I know I sound like an old coot but frankly I'm glad my dad showed me how to install/aim headlights and along with explaining the benefits of a working unmodified exhaust system and how it should sound.

Reminds me of the hotrodding chapter of John Muirs[0] venerable How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive [...] for the Compleat Idiot[1] that starts describing the interplay between various systems and how just throwing a hot cam into an engine and calling it a day is a bad idea. Basically - How to hotrod your engine:

1) don’t

2) if you must here’s what you really need to know

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Muir_(engineer)

[1] https://www.amazon.ca/dp/1566913101


This is much more down to improper enforcement. If having illegal headlights meant losing your license, people would think twice about it.


This so much!

It al boils down to how much money police can get out of fines and how many licenses they can suspend, AND how easy they can do that.

If they lack measuring equipment, the fine is too low, police won't bother enforcing a law.


> but frankly I'm glad my dad showed me how to install/aim headlights and along with explaining the benefits of a working unmodified exhaust system and how it should sound

In Germany, headlight aim is checked at the 2-yea mandatory inspection, dito for exhaust stuff. Is that not a part of US checks?


The joke is that in the US, vehicle registration is handled by the states, and while some states have strict inspection requirements, many states have none whatsoever, or only check emissions. You can still get ticketed for unsafe equipment, though.


Most states do not have the equivalent to TÜV or MOT.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_inspection_in_the_Unit...


I think it is more or less the same in all EU:

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX%3A...

Here (Italy) you have the first check/inspection after 4 years (for a new car) and from then on every 2 years.


Here in South Africa, inspection happens when you buy a vehicle. After that, it's not inspected again unless you sell it to someone else who will have to take it to roadworthy inspection. The test is pretty good and covers everything from suspension to oil leaks. It does however not cover emissions, as far as I know.


Depends on what state you live in. In my state there's absolutely no routine inspections whatsoever on automobiles, where I grew up there was yearly comprehensive safety inspections required - that being said, you only get a ticket if you fail to get an already registered car inspected.


I've never had my car checked when I did registration. Other states have done it. For a while the next city over did some emissions testing, but it was well known that it was hard to fail and they eventually got rid of it. Rumor is the company making the equipment made out well...


The really cheap and blatantly illegal headlight craze took off with Amazon and Ebay. Brick and mortars like Autozone have to abide by some standards.


> Its led to years of teenagers with no training putting things on their cars

Untrained people fiddling with their cars didn't start with The Fast and the Furious! If anything, this era marked the beginning of the end of all that.


In the UK we were doing Jap-style and had Max Power long before F&F. Fast and the Furious might be responsible for widening the pool of people though. Although in my experience, the modding scene didn't actually massively increase in size from what I saw.

The old timers "aged out" and into better, stock cars, and the young kids coming in could actually only do less with the available cars (modding anything reasonably recent is a frustrating and expensive task, and so were limited to things like headlights and exhausts).

When I wanted to put a small new lip spoiler on my car I got an insurance quote for 4x because of it. Suffice to say I left it stock.


Here in the UK Top Gear has a lot to answer for in promoting an utterly moronic car culture (and I like cars).


How so?


The almost wholesale shift of obnoxious drivers moving from BMW M cars across to Audi's RS line after Top Gear started mocking the former and talking up the latter was a fast, pronounced change.

Apart from that, not sure. Top Gear was always pretty good when it came to car culture, it's just a lot of surface level "car fans" just follow their word and end up being the face of the trend.


Where I live we have countless boy racers with farty exhausts obnoxiously informing everyone at all hours of their amazingly unique and original ideas about how to modify cars. I pin the blame in no small part on Top Gear for spreading a dumbed down car culture to the masses. That's not to say I didn't enjoy watching it. I just don't enjoy what it contributed to bringing about.


That's nothing to do with TG. They've been doing that for decades. Top Gear's mods were stupid, and no teenager uses it as the motivation for modding their car.

If anything, they get their inspiration from across the pond. TG is an older man's comedy show.


Pep Boys was a thing for like 20yr before the first Fast and Furious movie came out.


Wasn’t there a whole 1950’s musical about this?


The worse thing that happened to driving was we were convinced it should be fun. Sharing public space with big, heavy, dangerous boxes of metal should never have been been spun as fun.


And yet, it continues to be fun.


My parents live near Lake Michigan (although decidedly NOT on the lake) and I made the mistake of visiting them last weekend and driving home on Sunday night when everyone was migrating from their lake house back to the city.

I think I spent roughly half the drive back with stars in my eyes from people in Audis and BMWs blowing by me with their ridiculously bright headlights. If I made the mistake of checking my blindspot at the wrong moment of glancing in the side mirror when one of them was blowing by me I'd be left half blind.

I don't know whether they were driving with their high beams on accidentally on a crowded expressway or if their lights were just that bright but it was a damned menace. Give me shittier yellow old style bulbs any day over that.


Lake country + Sunday night = high beams.

When people improperly load vehicles, especially when towing things like boats, the headlights tip upwards. You were probably seeing overloaded vehicles, trailers with high tongue weights because they pushed everything to the front rather than center the cargo over the axle. That pushes the back of the truck down and the headlights up.


This reminds me of the “not sure if bumpy road or literally everyone in the oncoming lane is flashing their lights at me” phenomenon.


Most of the European Audi and BMW range is equipped with adaptive LED or laser headlights that selectively dip for oncoming traffic; self-levelling headlights are mandatory on new cars in the EU.


Not just "new cars" - a 2001 car that I drove had xeons with the leveling already mandatory. And it's checked at the bi-yearly technical inspection, and the police can forbid you to drive the car further if it's not working and they catch you (not sure if all around EU, definitely in Czechia and Germany).


And with all that fancy auto-leveling and auto-dipping they have snuck in a massive increase in practical brightness levels which is extremely blinding to those for whom the systems don't auto-dip.


The worst are trucks (like mass cargo, not Ford F), they have the headlights placed way too high and usually drive with high beam always on.


From experience in Cyprus, they don't care even a little bit over there.


Xenon, not Xeon :)


Pretty much all the EU; although the 1st three years after new car purchase there is no technical inspection.


Nobody tows with an Audi or BMW in the US. People here tow with an F150, which is equipped with an incandescent bulb in front of a chrome-plated plastic reflector.


People tow small boats and jet skis with their cars. HN just never crosses paths with those people because they're both above and below the income range around here.


Yes, I’ve seen it. Comparatively very few people in the US tow with cars compared to the rest of the world. For two reasons:

1. Pickups are comparatively very popular in the US.

2. The US has more stringent regulations for towing than the rest of the world; a vehicle rated to tow 2000lbs in EU often is rated to tow nothing at all in the US. [0]

0: https://oppositelock.kinja.com/tow-me-down-1609112611


In my experience it's more like a lifted GMC Yukon XL that came with incandescent bulbs but has had them swapped out for something 10x brighter and angled perfectly to hit the rear view mirror in any car less than 50 ft off the ground. God, I hate SUVs.


All it takes is aftermarket lighting with the cutoff in a different position and nobody willing to bother reaiming the lights. I see this a lot. The low beams are notionally not too bright but they are pointing forward without any effective cutoff.


Isn't it checked? In my country it is part of the standard check during the mandatory technical certification of the vehicle every few years.


Checked? Here in Michigan we have 0 car inspections. No smog, no safety check. Its great. We have 3 things that almost everyone in the state can firmly get behind:

1) No tolls roads

2) No mandatory vehicle checks

3) No traffic cameras

My state gets a lot of things wrong, but they get those 3 things right.


The only thing i ever have to do in California is a smog check. I drive regular cars and I take care of them, but I never had to test for anything other than smog check here to renew the registration.


Inspections don't really improve road safety much and they screw the poors right into the arms of predatory lenders so many US states don't have them.


Made even worse by levelled or lifted trucks with headlights that aren't even properly adjusted in the first place.


Whats funny to me is those leveled trucks get going at speed the wind pushes their noses up making them squat down the road. Blinding everybody in the process.


The pirate eye patch is a legitimate solution for this.

I used to drive a Fiat X1/9, which is a very low car by modern standards, putting me on eyelevel with SUV/truck headlights. Preserving night vision can be more important than stereoscopy


Even the came-with-the-car headlights are often dangerously bright, no need to assume they're aftermarket.


I've noticed newer Toyota headlights's are really bright and angled too high up. That or Toyota drivers leave their brights on more.


It's funny you say this, because I got a lot of flak on Reddit for saying the same thing.

You can see this effect clear as day when it's foggy - every other vehicle with projector headlights are aimed down, at the road, yet Toyota's (and Corollas especially it seems) are very blatantly aimed up, and at best are exactly level (which is still incorrect).

Honda drivers, on the other hand, seem to leave their high-beams on as a hobby. Over the 100k miles I've put behind the wheel of my truck in the past year, I could count on one hand the number of cars that have left their brights on, total. You'd need both hands to count the number of Honda's daily.


Isn’t there a knob to control the angle of the projectors? So that if you have heavy cargo at the back you can adjust the angle?

In the country I live in you’ll get honked to oblivion if you mess with that and blind the other drivers.


Uncommon in the U.S., sadly. My Jeep had that feature for the Canadian market, but not here, weirdly.


Technically yes, but you need a screwdriver to turn it. Just as well, most people wouldn't know how to turn it and make things worse.


Two of the five cars my family has owned in the last 20 years have had that feature.


No car I have ever seen in the US has this.


I assume they're aftermarket when they're on an early 90s economy cars, they're two different colors, and the refractor is scattering the light up past street signs -- not when they're just bright.

brightness isn't the issue, precision is.


Part of the problem stems from the fact that as cars age the headlight lenses oxidize and the original bulb's light becomes insufficient to light up the road ahead of the car. Some drivers are fixing the problem by swapping in much brighter aftermarket bulbs as opposed to replacing or resurfacing the lenses. It's easy to verify this by looking at the headlights of the offending cars after they've parked.


There are a few products that clear that up. I remember my mechanic doing it for me and it does make a noticeable difference. I would think any auto parts store would offer it to anyone buying bulbs as an up-sell.


In my experience at least, the cars I always have issues with are new ones with stock headlights, not modded cars. There are far less modded cars of course, but they always seem to be aimed lower to the road because they are lower cars in general.


>groups like Audi/Porsche/BMW have trouble bringing their fancy LED setups

Unfortunately those fancy LED setups are a headache for the rest of us drivers sharing the roads with those models, because they're also bright as hell from the factory.

Fortunately the tacky way Audi had implemented its rear-lights signalling wasn't adopted by the wider industry, and I think the VW group itself is having second thoughts about it. A rear-light should only inform me about the driving intentions of the car's owner, not visually distract me with its rear-life <marquee>-like implementation.


Unfortunately those fancy LED setups are a headache for the rest of us drivers sharing the roads with those models, because they're also bright as hell from the factory.

They're bright but they're not pointing to your eyes because that's not allowed in Europe either.

If you stand in front of your car and look at its LED lights, then duck down and look at the actual beam, you'll realize the great difference.

Even normal halogen bulbs can be blinding to other drivers if they're aimed too high. That's why such aim setup wouldn't let the car pass the MOT test either.


People in Europe drive on much tighter darker roads and drive more modern versions of said vehicles and I've noticed no such issue. Aftermarket and self maintenance 15 years ago yielded significantly worse conditions.

I agree however that the sweeping led indicator implementation isn't really of value


> Unfortunately those fancy LED setups are a headache for the rest of us drivers sharing the roads with those models, because they're also bright as hell from the factory.

Really? I'd say about 10% of cars here are LEDs and an additional 25% are Xenons, and honestly it isn't particularly bothering. They don't blind you because the beam is pointed downwards.

> Fortunately the tacky way Audi had implemented its rear-lights signalling wasn't adopted by the wider industry, and I think the VW group itself is having second thoughts about it.

Not sure about that, they're rolling it our across VW models now, and Renault (or was it Peugeot) have started copying it on some models...


> Not sure about that, they're rolling it our across VW models now,

My bad then. At least I think they made the newer implementations a little bit less obnoxious, I can only notice them on Audis that are a few years old (like 2013-2015, even newer), on the newer Seats or Skodas they are not such in "your face".

> They don't blind you because the beam is pointed downwards.

Maybe the drivers around these parts of the continent are doing it wrong, thing is that driving at night has become particularly challenging when there's even slight traffic coming from the other way. And I don't think I'm that old (I'm 39) or with a particular bad eye-sight. It also doesn't help that I drive a small 1.4l hatchback while the majority of newer cars seem to be higher CUVs/SUVs, in which case them "pointing their lights downwards" practically means them pointing the lights straight at me.


The light is also blue tinted, so when they drive past gates or anything that makes the light flicker on and off, I always believe it’s the Police.


> Unfortunately those fancy LED setups are a headache for the rest of us drivers sharing the roads with those models, because they're also bright as hell from the factory.

People don't realize that with these lights, they put their own safety at risk.


The funny thing is, German tuners complain the other way. Why are factory cars allowed to have a certain noise level (or something else) and I am not allowed to do the same thing with after market parts.

But then we have TÜV and all kinds of laws around that.


In my area, the police cars themselves have blinding LED beams.


Somebody read that visibility saves lives but assumed brightness = visibility


Don't forget people with raised pickups that now have their headlights above the height of your eyes. I've had to point my rear-view mirror at the ceiling with those behind me.


re: "aftermarket xenon bulb setups"

Is this still a big problem? While I would have agreed with you, say, back in the 2000s when the whole "import tuner" craze was in full swing, I don't think this is popular anymore. The car mod scene seems to be close to extinct now, with whats left being a lot less crazy than those in the past.


You will see them far more often on large trucks in the USA these days.

Especially true for midwest drives across long stretches at night where the brightness is much more annoying than in the middle of a city.

If the truck is lifted, the brightest points of the light can hit you from further away, worsening the problem.

It is also bad when someone is behind you with this setup, especially lifted trucks. Some cars have a rear mirror that can dim them to tolerable levels, but not the side mirrors. So you'll get flashes from them as you drive unless you lean forward or angle the mirrors away.


> Some cars have a rear mirror that can dim them to tolerable levels, but not the side mirrors

The US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration actually has a suggestion for eliminating the glare and reducing blindspots [1]

https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/blindzonegla...


That's OK if you have a reverse camera but will make driving or parking in reverse absolutely impossible if you don't. Clever suggestion, otherwise.


You can lean to one side or the other if you need to see the sides of your vehicle when reversing.


I've started to see some of those lifted trucks (almost always white, for some reason) with LED strip arrays mounted into the front grill fascia at just the right height to glare directly at the eye level of passenger cars.


I’ve given thought to getting one of those strips of LED lights and mounting them on the back of my car. Then we can see whose lights are brighter.


There are cars where all three mirrors dim. It was a hard requirement for my last car purchase because I live in truck country.


Its becoming more of a problem as aftermarket LEDs get more popular. The xenon kits were only installed by people who wanted to be 'cool', but LEDs are getting installed by people who want to save money or effort in replacing their halogen headlamp bulbs.

What is worse about the LEDs is that they are sold as "compatible" to various vehicles, when that means they will work mechanically/electrically, but not optically (some actually try to put LEDs in the same spot as the filament). All of the units I've seen cause the car headlamp to put out light at higher angles than a halogen bulb will, causing more glare for opposing traffic.


The 2000s are just starting to reach the Dakotas and the rest of the Midwest.


IMO it’s WORSE. The new craze are the LED light bars. I had one on my old truck for off-road use, but there are idiots that drive with them turned on driving down public roads. They’re so bright it can take 10+ seconds to see normally again.


LED light bars should immediately result in an attempted murder conviction.


>Is this still a big problem?

No. Retrofitting Xenon bulbs is an expensive pain in the ass compared to dropping in some LED replacement bulbs for a marginal increase in light and little to no increase in glare or change in beam pattern because they're made to be geometrically equivalent to the halogen bulbs they replace (which they kind of need to be in order to work adequately in all possible applications for whatever bulb they replace)

At the very high end you can get stupid bright LEDs but pretty much nobody does that because they are expensive.

Most of the glare you see is from OEM headlight assemblies (regardless of the type of bulb installed) that were simply not designed with not blinding other people as more than a "check the compliance box so we can get back to optimizing for every other metric" sized priority.


We also missed out on the yellow sodium headlight craze in Europe during the 80s or 90s. Headlights in the USA must be whitish in color. Anyone know why?


Yellow headlights used to be a legal requirement for driving in France and we had to put yellow film on when driving there until the EU standardized white headlights.

Apparently it was to reduce dazzle and glare: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_yellow


As far as I remember that didn't happen in all countries. I remember seeing them when going on vacation to France (Corsica) in the mid 80s, but never at home.


No, it was only France, where they were mandatory.

In other EU countries they were however allowed up to a certain date (in Italy they are accepted only for vehicles built before 1993, and in the same date France made them not mandatory).

The yellow is not "a" yellow it is a very specific one, called "Selective Yellow":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_yellow


I have no idea but could be related to use of the color yellow for caution / hazard lights, construction vehicles or turning lights.


Also fog lights being left on at all times. When I'm being followed by an SUV with a relatively high chassis and a set of fog lights that the owner blithely keeps turned on, it can be very nearly physically painful for me.


Fog lights? Mine are mounted and shine low. I thought they all were so they don't bounce back into the driver's eyes when there is actually fog.


What's low relative to the height of the driver in the kinds of vehicles that typically come equipped with fog lights can be quite high relative to the kinds of vehicles that typically don't. Also, a lot of fog lights don't, from what I can tell, seem to be anywhere near as focused as headlights.

Granted, I'm no expert on fog lights, so I could be misunderstanding the details of the situation. I've never owned them, so I haven't had occasion to know how they're supposed to work. All I really know about them is that they regularly blind me when I'm driving at night.


When I am cycling at night, I sometimes carry a flashlight to shine at the windscreen of people who can't not blind me.


Also appropriate for the jackwads who compulsively & pointlessly slam on their high-beams, whenever their headlight field captures a pedestrian (who's on the sidewalk, way away from the road).

The Astrolux MF01 was all but made for this. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32976932742.html


You say that, but I was once driving on a dark, national limit road through the forest one night - and had turned off my full beams because I'd just passed a run of cars coming the other way. I caught a glimpse of a pedestrian and instinctively turned them back on just to catch a glimpse of a (complete f'king moronic) person in full black pushing his bike (with no reflectors) in the road talking to the pedestrian.

After that, as a pedestrian I'd rather have a full beam to the face than think a car might not have seen me, even if I'm safely on the pavement.


>as a pedestrian I'd rather have a full beam to the face than think a car might not have seen me, even if I'm safely on the pavement.

This sounds suspiciously like "There Are No Bad Safety Measures"

How are you at risk from a driver not seeing you, if you aren't anywhere near the road?

If a driver has to travel that far off the roadway to reach you, that driver's issue isn't low visibility.


I misworded my point on that bit, I more meant I'd rather take a full-beam to the face when I'm on the pavement if it means the driver is aware of the hazards around them.

Occasionally (and in my experience it is only a handful of poor actors compared with the number of cars on the road), I'd take getting intense glare as a pedestrian if it works in everyone's safety.

Appreciate it's a different call for cyclists etc, but as a pedestrian I'd welcome the trade off more than drivers not using their full beams when they deem it neccessary.


PSA: A situation is what it is, not what it could be.

Another term for "What It Could Be" is "What It Isn't".


We have a number of tools at our disposal as drivers to minimise bad situations. Personally I think overuse of high-beams is more valid than under-use in quite a number of circumstances (and exceptionally bad in others).

Your comment implied that drivers who instinctively switch on their high beams to get a sense of a situation where they need more visual input are "jackwads" which I tried to highlight isn't the reason they're doing it.

Wanting to see more when you're driving a massive piece of machinery at decent speeds isn't something that makes you an outright asshole.


Those points weigh in favor of someone who thoughtlessly high-beam'd a pedestrian, for the first time - which is reasonable. Also reasonable is considering their actions and realizing they gained no meaningful amount of safety by blinding a pedestrian.

If they've blinded countless pedestrians over an extended period, then they aren't considering anything. Inconsiderate people are jackwads.


People not wearing reflectors while wearing black is so silly.


I would start with lobbying politicians to change the traffic laws and driving license exams that explicitly tells drivers (at least in my country) to not turn of the headlights for cyclists and pedestrians.

Disobeying traffic laws in order to be nice is tricky, especially if doing so has an remote possibility to cause an accident. The blame will always be on the driver.


Are you sure temporarily blinding someone coming toward you in a vehicle is a wise tantrum to throw?


Yes. A four-wheeler will just go on straight ahead in a stable and predictable manner when I stop giving control input. But a two wheeler will quickly come off course when I lose visual feedback because it's a dynamic balance that requires continuous recalibration. It's a very good idea to signal that you are getting blinded.


These are very good points.


Eh, as someone who rides a road bike pretty often, this is par for the course for the "community"

We should be glad the kind of person who would go out of their way to endanger themselves and others with something as useless and petty as... retaliatory light flashing is on a bicycle instead of a 2 ton vehicle.

The people who give cyclists a bad name are never self-aware


I'm not trying to be petty, or throw a tantrum. I'm not talking a 10000s of lumens here. It's just the only sure fire way to educate the driver about the problem fast enough. It usually works out that we both stop shining lights in each others eyes, and and pass safer and wiser.


Aren't fancy lights exactly what you want ? The projector LEDs have detection and selectively turn off beams aiming at others.


The base price of the car in the article is $217k. I would expect it to have superior lights.

The xeon light addon for a porsche in 2013 was $2k.


having had several german cars in the past, it's not that hard to import euro-spec headlights and install them, but your jaw might drop when you see the price.


I just put yellow tinted glasses. No problem at all. Also modern cars have a lot of light inside the cabin so it is harder to get blinded.


I challenge you on the assertion that this trend of illegal lighting is many times worse than obnoxiously loud exhaust.

Life safety is certainly a bigger factor with the headlights, but all other aspects are orders of magnitude more disruptive on the acoustic side. Having bright-as-sun headlights driving around town at 3am is not going to cause a lot of trouble for most residents (as they would be indoors sleeping peacefully). On the other hand, someone driving around at 3am in a turbo diesel truck with muffler delete may be able to single-handedly rouse your entire town from its slumber.

Which one of these actors has the most adverse net impact on society?


Make it 9pm rather than 3am. I'd say the headlights are worse.


Let's see, what's worse? Being rudely awakened, or being maimed/killed by a driver who literally cannot see?

I suppose in terms of net impact to society, there's no way of deciding without knowing in advance if the hypothetical victim is Mother Theresa or Hitler, so it's kind of a wash.

But for me (and feel free to disagree), I'm going to err on the side of preventing a devastating impact to a small number, over a minor annoyance to many.


Being rudely awakened too many times in a night results in a driver who cannot drive safely the next morning.


I know very little about headlights, but I do know that too many cars have a certain kind of extra bright, blue-white headlights which hurt my eyes. I don't know why they are allowed, but I'd love to see them banned.

They may be great for the driver, but getting blinded isn't much fun for oncoming traffic.

> "When a car approaches in the oncoming lane, the 911's headlights dim around it while leaving the rest of the pattern bright."

And what if it's a bike in the incoming lane? Or on the separate bike path on either side of the road? Will it detect that?

Because too often, clever car technologies don't properly account for other traffic than cars.


The blue headlights are absolutely atrocious for everyone: pedestrians, other cars, people living in nearby houses, ...

They aren’t even good for the drivers themselves. The blue light kills your night vision and makes it impossible to see into shadows.

Car headlights (and road lighting) should have a limit on the maximum power at each wavelength, with very strict low limits in the blue part of the spectrum.

The marketing of blue headlights is based on almost fraudulently misleading claims about the visibility and power efficiency they’ll provide. They should be banned.


And what if it's a bike in the incoming lane? Or on the separate bike path on either side of the road? Will it detect that?

Does the oncoming bike have a headlight?

My car doesn't have matrix headlights (since I'm in USA) but it does have a necessary tool. It has a camera which detects oncoming vehicles.

In my experience the camera works quite well. It dims my headlights more quickly than I can react manually. It also dims them when there's a lot of overall lighting (such as street lights).

I can't attest to the specific situation of a bicycle. Around here, riding a bicycle after dark is a dangerous thing to do.


> "Around here, riding a bicycle after dark is a dangerous thing to do."

And that's the exact thing that needs to change.


The dutch often separate vehicle and bicycle traffic (physically, not just with paint).


For those who don't know, this is what a typical Dutch road looks like: https://imgur.com/a/0k9gnul (from https://www.google.be/maps/@51.4296788,4.2155335,15.75z). The smaller separated paved areas at both sides are for cyclists.


But not everywhere. There are still plenty of places, especially on smaller, sometimes less-well-lit roads, where bikes share the road with cars.


It's practically impossible to cycle at night on roads without street lighting due to cars. Has been for many, many years. The people who would want to do it (generally people into the sport and out for training) just accept this. Nobody else cares.


Why ignore people who ride a bike for transportation?

When I was a teen, I rode 10 km each way to school next to a very busy road. In winter, it was still dark. The combination of rain and oncoming cars would make me completely blind.


Because you're a minority and most people haven't been on a bike since they were a child. For most people, their first experience on the road is in a car. They are completely out of touch with what it means to use the road outside of a car. The roads are owned by cars, even though everyone pays for them. This is the way it's been for years and it won't be changing unless we have a serious reform.


That really depends on where you live. Over here, most people ride bikes regularly. Car headlights that can blind cyclists should be considered a serious issue.


> Car headlights that can blind cyclists should be considered a serious issue.

Even people who design bicycle facilities don't consider this. They'll happily install a bidirectional bike lane where contra flow cyclists are effectively riding against motor vehicle traffic. This puts cyclists on the wrong side of the headlamp beam.


So, basically the same reason we have bad everything. Our institutions and regulations are outdated relative to the rest of the world, so we get stuck with shitty stuff.


For instance: payments. Europe and Asia got chip cards and tap-to-pay decades before we did, even though Mastercard and Visa took part in their invention. America had credit card infrastructure first, so our payment networks were stuck with it, while other countries could start off with better stuff.

Without the consumer demand that Google/Apple Pay (and later coronavirus) created, we still probably wouldn't have widespread tap-to-pay.


As a Canadian it's almost incredible to see how far ahead even we are compared to the US in terms of payment options. A lot of the debit machines were tap-compatible over 10 years ago, and even then it took banks several years to implement and supply cards. In fact I remember getting my first tap-capable card in high school and had to go to the bank to activate the feature, and it wasn't long after that when my friends and I were running hacked Android Pay apk's to enable NFC payments here. Even with regards to "chip and PIN," I'd wager most machines built in the last 10 years have never had a card swiped through them, and even if they have, the payment will almost never go through until you try again with the chip.

I honestly can't remember the last time I actually used my debit card to buy anything. With tap limits of $100 per transaction and $200 per day, 99% of my regular purchases can be made through my phone. It's very rare I take my wallet out of the car.


And also instant free wire transfers. Paypal would probably never happened if US had a banking system like the one in some European countries.


For fairness one must say that our free run-of-the-mill wire transfers being instant is a relatively recent development. They used to take multiple days in pre-SEPA-days, and international payments were a hassle (and also usually not free). And even today not all transfers are instant, as both banks must support this feature. But the processing time for the non-instant ones is down to one day across the board at least, so that improved.


It was never a technical reason to begin with that transfers took so long (i.e. multiple days), rather that banks made some side money by treating the transferred money as free loan.

Similar to stuff like the common free international roaming, SEPA is something that the EU massively fought for the consumers against the entrenched players.


Not sure where they took multiple days. Same bank: couple of minutes. Different bank: depends of the time of the day. If you missed the last clearing, the transfer will happen next day. Otherwise clearing was done 3-4 times per day. So the only way for the payment to be delayed for days would be making on Firday evening. Country-specific thing, most likely.


Depends on the country. Poland had intra-day free interbank transfer system called Elixir since 1994.

Basically it pays to be backward with these things - you skip many bad solutions and can learn from others. Our bank system was reconstructed almost from scratch in early 90s so it's quite modern now.


SEPA really is great. Would be awesome if more of the world (including the US) adopted IBAN - maybe it would lead to a similarly cheap and fast global payment area.


Banks in the US are very risk aversive when it comes to new technology about 6-7 years ago I was working with a team in the US and the next project that they were doing was implementing chip and pin for a single type of card for a bank. One person was trying to move to another team to avoid it. We had chip and pin in my country for years at this stage. I used just think that they were worried about the new technology but now that I am older I think that the business wanted to implement something new without investing in existing systems. I left the company shortly afterwards so no idea what happened.

According to our sales guys who say that US banks are the worst when it comes to new technology, Australian banks are the best apparently. Apparently there were some government initiatives to force the banks to use new technology, some really leaned into it and even changed entire management layers.


>Banks in the US are very risk aversive when it comes to new technology

But are somehow fine with crappy magstripe easily cloned cards. Bit odd how they judge risk


They make the customers pay for that via VISA fees


I think fear of the unknown is classified as a risk in some places, they completely changed management style and structures after I left so maybe the company changed as well.


The back of my card wasn't signed until I went to America. Then the 'clerk' 'rang me up' and asked me to sign the back of my card so that she could check it against the receipt I just signed.

(Really!)

I'm not old enough to have had to do that anywhere else - 'Chip & PIN' was required in the UK from 14 Feb 2006; I'm not sure how long before that it became available/widely used.


I was born in the US. It's very rare for clerks to look at the signature, and we all recognize the absurdity of making someone sign it on the spot.

Some places used to check IDs though.


Yeah that’s mainly correct I believe. The USA had an earlier electronic system well established by the time chip and pin was available. The costs to switch would have been greater than the amount of fraud prevented.

We see this in other systems like NYC’s metrocard VS London’s Oyster. Metrocard was an early system that works reasonably well. Now the MTA is deploying a new modern system as metro gets near its planned lifetime.

I think the USA has been far more innovative with credit cards that give rewards. Many of my EU friends complain they can’t get more airline points, etc with their cards.


>The USA had an earlier electronic system well established by the time chip and pin was available.

So did many other places.

> I think the USA has been far more innovative with credit cards that give rewards.

US credit card schemes charge merchants massively more, so yes, these fees can then be used to give "rewards". EU cards have lower rewards because the fees are limited by law.

It's not something to be proud of. You're paying higher prices as a result.


I guess USA citizens tend to have higher incomes than Western Europeans which could maybe explain why Americans pay higher prices. But I’m not sure we do.

It’s weird though that 3x as many Western Europeans move to the USA than the other way around.


Americans pay higher prices than they would otherwise pay for the same goods because of the card reward schemes, not necessarily higher prices than Europeans pay. Taxes are very different, for a start.

I think you do have higher incomes, generally, and a lower tax burden. Fewer government services too of course. Not sure that's much to do with credit card reward schemes though :)


> America had credit card infrastructure first, so our payment networks were stuck with it

The UK had well developed credit card infrastructure before Chip and Pin too. This is not the reason.

The US market was just massively more resistant to change, and was able to put a stop to the banks' liability shift tactics.


My country, Canada, has chip cards and tap-to-pay. Whenever we get interns/new hires that grew up in China they remind us that even this is behind the times.

Apparently they pay with their phone. They scan a QR code and get the bill on their phone... or something. I've never experienced it myself.


...there are phone payment options in canada, using NFC. Can confirm having done it on a pixel 3a and a iphone 8+. Usually through your bank or visa provider app.


I was counting NFC based things as tap-to-pay. I use Apple Pay for most of my purchases.

But they always say that doesn't count. And I see why. You still gotta wave down a waiter, ask them to go fetch a machine, wait for them to come back, potentially sending them back because they split it incorrectly. That's not the same as scanning a QR code on the table, having it load up your bill, splitting it if needed, and making the payment. If that works as well as I imagine it to, that could all be done in the time it takes to wave down the waiter.


There's no difference. A qr code is more hassle than NFC. Splitting the bill happens on the POS system, and no qr code is required.


This gets thrown a lot but I think the reason the U.S. didn't move from the swipe system to the PIN is the speed of processing your card. With the swipe, the cashier just swipe your card and you're done. With the chip, I have to wait and then enter my PIN and then wait. It's just a hustle.


This process is nearly instant in every country I have used it in except for the US, where it inexplicably takes 20 seconds of waiting both pre and post pin entry.


Don't you need to sign after a swipe?


Why would we move to chip when it's already obviated by tap?


For security reasons, contactless card payments are limited to small transactions and can only be used a certain number of times between chip and pin transactions.

Since it lacks a second authentication factor the compromise is to limit how much can be spent if the card is stolen.

The US could skip chip and pin if it switched directly to contactless mobile payments.


It's tap and PIN for higher amounts. The same thing, just wirelessly.


The problem is actually that America was innovating / standardizing first, and there is still inertia with those old systems. Meanwhile, newer institutions like the EU have the benefit of hindsight by looking at what America did without having the downside of momentum with old tech.


Lack of matrix headlights is a glaring omission on Teslas sold in Europe, too. Pretty much any other high-end car in Europe has them, at least as an option.


Tesla’s lack tons of stuff that’s standard or an option on other high end cars. They need to catch up on things like ventilated and massage seats, HUD, CarPlay, bird view cameras and many many more. They’re effectively simple cars, with powerful computer and drivetrain.

Adding localized and very complex feature is likely very low on their to do list, especially as their RD spending is ridiculously low, and trending downward for last few years.


CarPlay is silly. CarPlay was made for legacy manufacturers who can’t make a decent UI. The UI on Tesla is generally ahead of CarPlay. Not even sure how you would do CarPlay.. a small pop-up window? It couldn’t take over the whole nav or you lose Energy display and a host of other good stuff.


CarPlay would work quite well on the Tesla UI. On the S/X display it would appear in landscape form, taking up half the screen just like other "apps". On the 3/Y it would use the right 2/3rds of the screen just like other "apps".

They won't do it though, because as you say Tesla does most stuff just as well, if not better, on their native UI. And they want to keep people in their ecosystem.

The main advantages of CarPlay on Tesla would be: 1) ability to install 3rd party apps, and 2) Much better voice support. But both of these are things that Tesla could implement/improve in their own software.


CarPlay's UI is far better than any manufacturer I've seen so far. Using the same UI/UX as your smart phone is way more intuitive - and it'll keep pace with OS updates. I wouldn't buy a car _without_ CarPlay at this point.


That is true for legacy, but for me not true for the Tesla UI.

I quite enjoyed CarPlay in my Honda, it solved a huge hole. But I really don't find that same hole. The only apps I really used was maps, and podcast app. I have both in the tesla info-tainment section.

Would be cool if they opened the market for third party apps, could be handy for some stuff... perhaps someday?


New Subaru’s have the full iPad dash like Tesla’s and integrate CarPlay just fine. It’s a widget in a bigger ui.


So you would do it in the background where the map currently is? And the AC controls pull up over it?

I guess no reason that couldn't work. It wouldn't not anything about battery health, and it would require a cable which most people don't use, but it could work.


A few makers offer wireless CarPlay as well.


I read that Tesla does have ventilated seats. That Tesla isn't a fan of HUDs (I think they are OK but not important at all). That bird view cameras aren't possible unless Tesla moves their existing cameras or adds yet more. It's silly to call them simple because they lack some esoteric features while ignoring useful features they have that other cars don't, such as dynamic software updates (and many others such as their piloting).


> I read that Tesla does have ventilated seats.

It was very short lived option.

> It's silly to call them simple because they lack some esoteric features

Esoteric to people buying used 10 Toyota’s (there nothing wrong with that btw). But standard in high end cars. I’ve listed only few that come to top of my head, but it’s very long list, from features, through tiny gadgets in interior, sound insulation, and many others

> while ignoring useful features they have that other cars don't, such as dynamic software updates

Exactly as I said, powerful computer.

Tesla is really good at computer stuff and drivetrain stuff. But they are very poor at rest of the car stuff. There’s nothing wrong with that - different people have different priorities for what they want from their cars.

But let’s not dismiss validity of the features, just because someone’s favorite toy doesn’t have them.


What are matrix headlights?


From the article:

Each of the 911's lighting units includes 84 individually controlled LEDs that allow the car to continuously morph the pattern of its beams. When a car approaches in the oncoming lane, the 911's headlights dim around it while leaving the rest of the pattern bright. The other driver doesn't get blinded, but you still have blazing lights on your side.


Sometimes known as pixel lighting, matrix systems are based around a high-beam unit consisting of a cluster of LEDs (the Audi matrix system consists of up to 25 LEDs per high-beam unit), rather than a single high-beam bulb that you might find in a conventional headlight.

This allows you to block out certain portions of the beam so you don't blind other drivers as they approach.


On this type of lighting, what is the purpose of having high and low beams? It seems like you should be able to leave it on high all the time.


Most nicer headlights are shaped[1] in a way that the drivers side beam is shorter than the passenger side beam. You don’t want to blind drivers and it gives the passenger side more visibility. They also adapt to turns. Matrix headlights do the same and much more. High beams illuminate the whole road and not just the ground in the same lane as the car.

[1] https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1827/4457/products/3_03867...


You will blind yourself with your own high beams in heavy rain/snow/fog.


Interestingly, a similar version of these systems was demonstrated back in 2012 which could track individual snow flakes or rain drops. They would avoid illuminating the drops so they wouldn’t reflect back at you, thus reducing glare and allowing you to see much further.

https://youtu.be/4jwhQM6aDS8


Such system could work in moderate conditions, though it's doubtful. As soon as you get water "dust" in front of the headlight the only thing this tracking can do is to shut off the light entirely, there is no way isolating separate droplets and the cloud of "dust" will disperse the light further into the medium.


Well, if you don't mind the driver having to watch via a HUD there is range-gated imaging which does exactly the thing you're assuming is impossible. :P


I assume you either don't understand what range-gated imaging is or how the headlights work.


My comment didn't have anything to do with the headlights except pointing out that the 'impossibility' of not illuminating the drops in the air isn't actually an impossibility with sufficiently crazy hardware. -- A fact I expected other readers to find interesting.

My apologies if it sounded to you as something I was saying could realistically be done with projector headlights.


You're commenting on an article that is basically just a short description of matrix headlights asking what matrix headlights are.


High beam lights which turn off in sections to not blind other drivers.

They're pretty neat! You can drive on a highway, have high beams lighting up signs but not dazzling other drivers.


It's described in the article.


So, I'm riding to work by bike and in winter times I came to hate these lights.

They destroy any natural darkness adaptation, which takes some time to set in again and then already comes the next car.

These super fancy lights don't give a shit about the sidewalk or wild life. To me they increase no security whatsoever and contribute mainly to the ongoing light pollution.

Probably they even decrease safety overall by randomly blinding humans/animals.

Studies/Exp needed.


It's not just a problem in US. Ever since Xenon headlights became the norm in upper mid-class cars and up (2003?), I'm having trouble driving at night (here in Germany). I have no data to back this up, but I'd say subjectively glaring is much less of an issue since LED became standard (2010?).


I get the criticism, want, and need...but comparing a $120K+ Porsche to a $20K average car isn't exactly a fair comparison, even when it comes to headlights. The replacement cost on that headlight is probably astronomical, where I can replace a bulb for $40. I don't even know if the Boxster which is around ~$60K comes with these headlights. A quick lookup and those Porsche headlights cost ~$2K EACH.


> I get the criticism, want, and need...but comparing a $120K+ Porsche to a $20K average car isn't exactly a fair comparison, even when it comes to headlights.

You get matrix light as an extra from nearly all manufactures in in Europe (or at least Germany). Certainly from all "premium" manufacturers but e.g. also from Opel or Volkswagen. In fact Opel (formerly owned by GM) was one of the first to introduce them.


Matrix LED are available with most large manufacturers in Europe. You can buy a $30k car equipped with those as well. They always cost extra but are not exclusively sold with high end cars.


My Peugeot has these lights, cost me £16800 new.

The lights last the lifetime of the car.


You probably could take them out after the car dies and use for another decade or two, if you found a good use for them ;)


>Peugeot

>after the car dies

I see what you did there :D


:)


> A quick lookup and those Porsche headlights cost ~$2K EACH.

That sounds low. My Toyota's headlights are $1,200 each.


But you can replace your bulbs for less than $100, it would appear due to the housing mechanics, etc you'd have to replace the entire headlight unit if one went out for this particular setup.

Also the quote I looked at was used, someone else here posted it might cost more like $5K each, new.


No, I can't. There are no replaceable headlight bulbs on my Toyota either. Just like this Porsche, you replace the entire unit if it goes bad. This is the norm for OEM LED headlamps -- they're considered lifetime parts, not wear items.


I'm not sure why you think this but it is very incorrect. I can't speak for your Toyota, but most car headlight assembly's absolutely allow for replacing the bulbs inside them.

Your dealership may not tell you this because they're incentivized to sell you that 2k housing, but do some research and you will almost certainly find that you can replace the bulb for $50 or less.


> most car headlight assembly's absolutely allow for replacing the bulbs inside them.

Yes, because the vast majority of OEM head lamps are still not LEDs.

You must be thinking about HIDs.

OEM LED housings almost universally have no user serviceable access for their LED components, nor do they have standardized "bulbs". You can find plenty of videos of people 'opening' LED headlamps on YouTube [0][1] -- it is a destructive process. The housings are sonically welded with the LED components inside, and the only way in is by cutting them open.

While there are retrofit bulbs for halogen housing (made in the shape of halogen bulbs) for the aftermarket, no OEMs use these for factory LED lighting.

But you don't have to take my word for it:

1. Go look up any vehicle with factory LEDs on the websites of Sylvania, Philips, Hella, etc. You will find that they do not list bulbs for those lamps.

2. Read the owners manual or parts diagram for any vehicle with factory LEDs -- you won't find bulbs in the parts diagrams, and the owners manuals will explain that the housing must be replaced.

[0]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Im62XNqgFU

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqIV0M9fpY4


It’s a really poor argument and also very misleading. They make it sound as if this is something special that is not found on this continent. Many manufacturers have excellent LED headlamps. They just have a static beam pattern. I’m sure over time as cost becomes less of a factor and as regs change these adaptive units will become more common.


The ones on this website say they are £3,800 each for a 2019+ 911 Turbo (992).

https://www.design911.com/Porsche/Porsche-992--911--2019--/9...


Yeah, I was looking at used prices, but I can't tell if your link is for the pair, or just for one.


What a bargain! The Ferrari ones are $2600. /s


As with all automotive parts, eventually the price will come down. Currently they are luxury, in some years they will be commodity.


They're also from a luxury brand that commands a premium price above and beyond its actual cost of supply. Give it five years and an entry level Hyundai will come with equivalent headlights and they'll only cost $100 to replace.


Brands like Hyundai and Toyota have been coming out with sealed LED units for years, and they cost thousands to replace

The headlights are not that cheap. Expensive optics, expensive LEDs with carefully selected emission spectrums, cooling solutions.


But do they break down as often? If it's about physical breakage (car crash), you're going to change more than just the light bulb for either tech. And it will cost more with traditional bulbs, too.


I checked and wow, you're right, they're expensive! Cheapest I could find for replacement LED headlights was $620 or so per headlight.


Why would you want to replace LED headlights? LEDs themselves are typically specified for 50k hours, a much longer useful life than car engines (~10k hours / 180000 km). Also, because these are individually dimmed array lights, even if a single element dies, it's not a big problem and wouldn't require replacing the unit.


Maybe in case of a fender bender?


A bit like dual clutch transmissions - a few years back only to be found on exotics now I have one on my very modest 1l Škoda.


By then, the lights will be tied to your VIN number and only replaceable by the dealership.


>eventually the price will come down

Not for Porsche owners. They sell at a premium, all the time.


>but comparing a $120K+ Porsche to a $20K average car isn't exactly a fair comparison, even when it comes to headlights

It's not fair but it gives software devs an opportunity to bike-shed on the tech and clutch pearls over other people's behavior (god forbid the poors install $10 Ebay LEDs that aren't even as bright as the halogens they're replacing) so 300+ comments later here we are.


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