The stock headlights on your car or 4×4 may be sufficient at low speeds on paved roads, especially when combined with the city lights. But if you find yourself in complete darkness in the middle of nowhere or there’s even a little bit of rain or haze, you’ll find that they seriously fall short. How can you handle that? Install aftermarket driving lights on your car.
Are Aftermarket Car Lights Even Legal?
Unlike in the US, in Australia, aftermarket lights are completely legal. In fact, they prove to be more than necessary on off-road trails and areas that lean more toward rural.
Driving lights may end up being the most useful safety feature you can install after the right tires because the ability to see farther down the road gives you more time to respond to any hazards. This is crucial since braking distances lengthen in slick situations. Precipitation, which some driving lights might also assist you to see through, is what causes slippery conditions.
If you consider installing lights for your car, turn them off while you are among other motorists and only turn them on when necessary.
How to Choose?
Similar to how they think about brakes or seat belts, shoppers should regard automotive lights as an important safety component. That said, when you explore the range of car lights for sale, consider the following factors.
LEDs vs HIDs
You’ll notice that most of the car lights for sale are LEDs. That’s because this technology currently rules the driving-light market, similar to the gadget market. However, even though LEDs can perform some tasks that HIDs cannot, both technologies are still quite useful to modern drivers. Let’s see how they compare.
A tiny semiconductor called a light-emitting diode produces light when an electrical current flows through it. It is fully electric, so the moment it is turned on, it is at its strongest. Pressurised xenon gas is activated within an HID bulb by the current flowing between two electrodes. HIDs, especially really strong ones, take a few seconds to achieve full intensity since it takes a few seconds for the gas to heat up.
The takeaway: An LED light will turn on instantly when you push the switch; in contrast, HIDs take a few seconds to reach their peak brightness.
The life cycle of an LED is approximately 50,000 hours. An HID bulb, on the other hand, has a lifespan of roughly 9,000 hours. The former will significantly outlive any vehicle on which it is installed. The latter is comparable to the usage of about 90,000 kilometres.
However, since you probably don’t drive only at night or exclusively on lonely roads without other motorists, HID bulbs will probably outlive your car as well. Although LEDs may last longer, you will probably need to replace the entire light if an LED in a driving light breaks. However, you can easily change an HID bulb if it burns out.
Since LEDs are tiny, you need lots of them to create a working driving light. Because of this, producing lenses and reflectors for each LED light that can collect and cast light over a great distance is difficult.
On the other hand, a sole HID is sufficient to create an efficient driving light, necessitating the use of just one lens and reflector. Since it is simpler and less expensive to do this, numerous brands can sell lights with a remarkable range at affordable prices.
From warm to cool, the colour of light is represented by temperature. Warm light (red to yellow) penetrates precipitation, fog, and dust with little reflection because of its long wavelengths, yet it can make it difficult for our eyes to distinguish between colours. Cool light, which ranges from blue to violet, might seem extremely bright, but because of its short wavelengths, it causes glare and reflections and can strain the eyes.
Both HID and LED lights frequently err on the cold side of the colour spectrum. This doesn’t mean that cool is better. This is simply because the majority of light manufacturers don’t invest the effort to fine-tune appropriate colour rendering.
A light source that is as similar to natural sunshine as feasible will be most comfortable for our eyes and offer sufficient visibility, good contrast, and accurate colour rendering. Although the colour temperature of daylight fluctuates depending on the situation, it is generally accepted to fall between 5,000 and 6,500 kelvin.
Driving lights working in this temperature range will appear pleasant, even white rather than yellow or blue. In addition to maximising vision, contrast, and depth perception when driving, lights operating in this range (or a little warmer) will also help to prevent eye fatigue.