Xenon Lights: Dazzlingly Dangerous?
by Steve Dearborn
Xenon lights, otherwise known as HID lights, are the vivid blue orbs you see occasionally on peopleís cars in the spots normal headlights should be. Xenon lights are bright, intense, and occasionally surprising.
But are they dangerous? Many researchers and automotive experts are debating this issue, and there is some good evidence that these specialized headlights may lead to traffic distractions and accidents.
No matter what any pro-xenon research might suggest, there is no question that unusual bright lights could easily surprise and confuse drivers. Driving requires a lot of mental energy. Drivers need to focus on every little thing around them, making a hundred little notes a minute on what every other motorist around them is doing. Bright lights surprise drivers and use up some of that important mental energy.
Older drivers, especially, are susceptible to the dangers of xenon lights. According to an article in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, older drivers have physiological as well as psychological reasons for getting extra distracted by these trendy headlights. The glare from the lights can shock and surprise older drivers, who also have slower reaction times. This leads to unpredictable and dangerous situations for anyone in traffic at the same time as xenon light driver. Style is no excuse for danger.
Xenon lights are bright. While little peer-reviewed research seems to be available online, there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence that xenon lights are simply too bright to be safe. Everyone has had the experience of driving at night only to briefly cope with a sudden blue flash that leaves the viewer reeling and momentarily confused.
When drivers canít see, they canít drive. Cars move fast and weigh a lot; they carry a lot of force. Itís irresponsible for motorists to willfully attach lights to their cars which put other drivers in a compromised, ill equipped state.
Distracted driving is one of the roadís harshest hazards. Law enforcement officials, public health workers, medical professionals, and concerned citizens have been raising the alarm on the dangers of distracted driving for years now. According to New York car accident lawyer David Resnick & Associates, distracted driving is a major source of accidents and other motor vehicles in traffic.
When you drive around blaring bright blue lights into the faces of random motorists, youíre forcing distraction onto everyone around you. Xenon lights toss distraction into peopleís minds willy nilly. Itís sort of like aiming a laser pointer into traffic, except that it affects everyone around you, not just the person youíre aiming at.
Traffic should be one place in which people focus on important things, not on how they appear. Xenon lights, unfortunately, reinforce the idea that the road is just a high-stakes version of the fashion modelís runway, that itís okay to play in traffic. There is no reason that motorists need to look cool while driving on the freeway. Motorists should be focused on safely steering their powerful metal objects into their designation. Showboating has no place on the road. †