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Police Forum Police Head Mod: Skidmark
Questions & info about the Motor Vehicle Act. Mature discussion only.

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Old 12-02-2009, 08:48 PM   #1
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DriveSmartBC - Night Driving Glasses

I've had a couple of regular correspondents ask me recently about night driving glasses. These glasses have yellow lenses and are supposed to cut glare and increase contrast allowing you to see better in the darkness. After a bit of research, it appears that using these glasses is not a good idea.

"Yellow night driving lenses have been shown to provide no benefit in seeing ability at night (Richards 1964). They are even hazardous, because they give the driver a feeling of seeing better, which no one has yet been able to explain (Septon, 1968). Studies have shown that they actually impair visual performance and retard glare recovery." This quote is taken from the book Forensic Aspects of Vision and Highway Safety by Merrill J. Allen, O.D., Ph.D. and others.

I contacted the Canadian Association of Optometrists and asked about these glasses. The response was that wearing anything that cut down on the amount entering your eyes while driving at night was a bad thing to do. These glasses do that, without causing the reduction in speed needed to compensate for reduced vision.

Finally, older drivers are at particular risk if they chose to use yellow lenses at night. Their pupils do not dilate as well under low light conditions so their eyes cannot compensate properly for the loss of light, increasing the risk.

For optimum night driving vision use an up-to-date and clean pair of clear prescription eyeglasses with an anti-reflective coating, clean your windshield inside and outside and make sure your headlights are clean and properly aimed.

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Old 12-03-2009, 12:32 AM   #2
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interesting, do you know if its the same deal for yellow "high contrast" headlights then (i'd assume they're just a filter over the bulb)? Seems like every other car in england and france has super-yellow headlights
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:26 PM   #3
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I understand that France has decided to more to white headlights and I didn't know that yellow were allowed in the UK.
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:49 PM   #4
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I'm not sure if they're allowed or not, could have been cars that drove through the chunnel or ferried accross, I just noticed in those two countries in particular there were tonnes of them around (I noticed because I find them more annoying/distracting)
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Old 12-05-2009, 12:48 PM   #5
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I'm not sure if they're allowed or not, could have been cars that drove through the chunnel or ferried accross, I just noticed in those two countries in particular there were tonnes of them around (I noticed because I find them more annoying/distracting)
Can't possibly be any more annoying or distracting than HID headlamps.
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Old 12-05-2009, 02:23 PM   #6
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Can't possibly be any more annoying or distracting than HID headlamps.
you mean, more annoying than improperly installed aftermarket HID...?

cuz factory HIDs are just fine, IMO.
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Old 12-05-2009, 02:30 PM   #7
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Unless they're cresting a hill. then it hurts.
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Old 12-05-2009, 03:14 PM   #8
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you mean, more annoying than improperly installed aftermarket HID...?

cuz factory HIDs are just fine, IMO.
There are many things wrong with HIDs...


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Unless they're cresting a hill. then it hurts.
That's one. HIDs throw out almost as much light as high-beam headlights, and concentrate it in a pool close to the front of the car. Sure you might be able to see every pebble on the road and it might feel more reassuring, but the extra light in the foreground can only harm long-range vision.

The intense glare from oncoming cars, especially when cresting a hill as Inaii mentioned, can be very uncomfortable, even dangerous.

Another side effect of the extra light is the glare off wet roads for oncoming drivers. While the cutoff and optics generally project the light lower than the head of an oncoming driver, all that light has to go somewhere and reflects off the wet road.

Throw in color and intensity shifting as the HID equipped car followes dips and bumps in the road and they're just downright annoying.

Lastly, if HIDs were never approved as OE for automakers, we wouldn't have all these botched retrofit jobs by people trying to make their economy cars look like premium German sedans.

HIDs provide little benefit to the driver, most of which is outweighed by the drawbacks to other drivers. They're a marketing tool used by automakers to make owners think they have a premium lighting system. Blue lights belong over top of the K-Mart discount bin. Not in headlamps.
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:09 AM   #9
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you mean, more annoying than improperly installed aftermarket HID...?

cuz factory HIDs are just fine, IMO.
not if you're driving down a bumpy road with a BMW.Rover.MB or similar with their auto adjusting HID lights heading towards you. Happened last night and man it was annoying.
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