Tag Archives: headlights

Low Beam vs. High Beam: When to Use These Headlights

Headlights are designed specifically to cater to the safety and convenience of the driver and ensure the visibility of other vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, animals, as well as other obstacles on the road.

Headlights come in two specific modes — low beam and high beam. The main difference between low and high beam headlights is that a low beam is used for normal night-time driving; whereas high beams are used for driving on roads that have little to no light.

Low beam headlights illuminate the road better in certain conditions and allow other drivers to see your vehicle without blinding them, ensuring fewer accidents. They are also ideal for all weather conditions or anytime your visibility is less than 150 metres. As a lower\ beam lights up the road at short ranges, you’ll mostly use them in the city with well-lit roads and areas. Low beams are designed to aim light down to the ground and towards the side; this way they don’t blind vehicles in the opposite direction or those in front of you.

High beam headlights are only suited for use in poorly-lit urban roads and rural areas. They should have limited city usage as they tend to blind oncoming traffic due to their bright, long-range illumination. They’re usually used on highways and areas without much traffic. Because high beams are so bright, be sure to switch to your low beam when you’re approaching a vehicle from behind so you don’t blind the driver ahead of you.

While high beams increase your visibility to 350 to 400 feet and help increase visibility when driving on dark streets or highways, you should never solely rely on high beams; nor should you use them on city roads amongst traffic. Never use high beams during unfavourable weather conditions as they cause glare and momentary blindness, making them extremely unsafe.

Over time, headlights tend to get dirty with accumulated dirt, and this can cause lower illumination and visibility on dark roads. Remember to clean your headlights occasionally as a necessary safety measure.

Make sure you adjust your driving speed according to the road and traffic conditions and always be considerate of the other drivers around you.

Types of Headlights Explained

These days the headlight technology that has been advancing at such a rapid rate that there are several options when it comes to headlamps. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of headlights available on the market.

Halogen Lights:
Most vehicles are equipped with halogen headlight bulbs from the factory. A halogen bulb is similar to an electric bulb but uses halogen gas to increase brightness instead of a filament. The bulbs emit a yellowish hue, due to the high 3000k colour temperature. Halogen lights produce a lot of heat as electricity, making these bulbs quite difficult to handle, while the lumen output is fairly low (about 700 -2000). However, Halogen headlights are relatively inexpensive to manufacture compared to other options and are still in use today. These standard headlights are the most common headlights on the road.


HID/Xenon Lights:
HID or high-intensity discharge headlights are also called Xenon headlights as Xenon is one of the gases inside the bulb. These headlights don’t use a metal filament to create light and produces a bright white/bluish colour. They are relatively brighter than halogen and produces around 3,000 lumens; this makes them take extra time to warm up and makes them a bit more expensive. Some countries have banned these lights as they are too bright to be used.

LED Lights:
LED Headlights or light-emitting diodes are the most energy-efficient choice of bulbs available. The advantage is that they light up instantly and last longer than other light sources. These lights work by converting electricity into light through the diodes inside the headlight. This makes them a more expensive option, but they are worth the price. Due to their stronger intensity with a range from 4,000 to 12,000 lumens, visibility is improved whether on high or low beam.

*Lumen is the amount of light emitted from a source. Higher the lumens, the brighter the light.

Safety Tips for Driving at Night

The dangers of driving are always exaggerated after dark. It takes more caution and alertness to drive during the night than it does when driving in daylight. Especially in a country like India where drivers are just a little more ‘slack’ about following road rules.

Drowsy Driving:
Never drive if you are feeling extra fatigued at the end of the day. Always be cautious that there could be other drowsy drivers on the road. Long work hours, extra work shifts, lack of quality sleep, and sleep disorders are only a few of the reasons why accidents happen because of inattentive and overtired drivers.

Blinding Lights:
We have all experienced those blinding high-beam headlights in our face obscuring our view momentarily. But all it takes are those few blinding seconds to cause a serious accident. Only use your high-beam lights when necessary; when visibility is low. Try to switch between low and high beams when you see oncoming drivers. Just because they blind you doesn’t mean you need to blind them as well.

Don’t Stare at Oncoming Lights:
Those High-beam headlights can be extremely distracting; the best strategy is not to stare directly at them and to do your best to cast your gaze down when cars are coming at you. Try to focus on the white line. This will prevent you from being temporarily blinded.

Despite popular belief, don’t buy those yellow-tint sunglasses that would supposedly help you see better at night. They limit the amount of light that passes through them, making distinguishing objects and road hazards more difficult.

Don’t Drink and Drive:
Alcohol is the most common cause of accidents, even more so at night time. Be wary of other drivers when driving at night as you are more likely to encounter a driver who is under the influence of alcohol. Remember, you not only have your own life in your hands when driving but of those around you as well; so never drink and drive no matter how “little” you think you had, that is still too much.

Clean Your Windshield:
Your windshield might look fine during the day, but it can cause glare when headlights hit it. Dust that might not bother you during the day can be spotty and distracting at night, so it’s important to clean your windshield both inside and out. This applies to motorists’ helmet visors as well.