Adaptive High Beam Systems: Visual Performance and Safety Effects 2014-01-0431
Present standards for vehicle forward lighting specify two headlamp beam patterns: a low beam when driving in the presence of other nearby vehicles, and a high beam when there is not a concern for producing glare to other drivers. Adaptive lighting technologies such as curve lighting systems with steerable headlamps may be related to increments in safety according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but isolating the effects of lighting is difficult. Recent analyses suggest that visibility improvements from adaptive curve lighting systems might reduce nighttime crashes along curves by 2%-3%. More advanced systems such as adaptive high-beam systems that reduce high-beam headlamp intensity toward oncoming drivers are not presently allowed in the U.S. The purpose of the present study is to analyze visual performance benefits and quantify potential safety benefits from adaptive high-beam headlamp systems. Before adaptive high-beam systems could be permitted on U.S. roadways, it is necessary to have data describing their potential for crash reductions. The results from the present analyses can help to inform discussion about the potential impacts of adaptive high-beam systems on transportation safety.