For people who are buying new or fairly new cars, you might realize that the headlights are a bit different. The popular halogen lights are now being replaced by what is called HID lights. HID stands for high intensity discharge lights and are powered by xenon gas. Xenon lights are brighter, last longer and are generally safer for the driver of the car. But the new lights also have a few downsides to them that need to be worked out.
The first HID bulbs using xenon were introduced in high end luxury cars in the early 1990s. These cars had such a difference in view in the dark hours that more manufacturers adopted these styles of lights. They refined the lights to keep making them safer and easier to use in all makes of cars. Now, Xenon powered HID lights can be made available for most makes and models of vehicles.
Xenon is a gas that powers the light bulb, like neon and other gases do. They provide an electric arc, which is a more powerful beam to radiate out from the headlight position. While this provides more light for safety, they cost a bit more as well. There isn’t a filament to burn out inside the light bulb like in the past, so the light will last a lot longer. The longer lasting technology will also cost a bit more to the consumer. However, when you don’t have to go to a dealership as often and pay for them to install new light bulbs, the savings might work out more towards the car driver’s favor.
Lights from xenon gas appear bluish when they are coming down the road towards you. The bluish tint helps to detract from the brightness in a person looking at them, but they still produce a powerful beam to highlight the road in front or if anything were to jump out from the side of the road. Some people are distracted by the blue light, but it just takes a bit to get used to it and a driver can pass a car with those lights with no problem.
Even though more headlights is a good thing on a dark and curvy road, it can be a bad thing to an oncoming car. Headlight glare can cause accidents since people can’t see where the road is because of temporary blindness. Make sure if you drive a vehicle with xenon headlights that they are pointed in the correct direction to maximize what you can see and lessen the impact on oncoming traffic.
No matter if you use xenon lights or not, get the burned out headlight replaced promptly. Not having bright lights can be a detriment to your driving abilities at night and for other cars coming against you in traffic.