HID headlights and Philstar.com

The Philippine Star’s motoring section yesterday printed an article titled “A Rare SUV-ic Drive,” the writer’s story on SUVs and SUV tuning & customization. Nothing special, but rather misleading:

Xenon HID (High Intensity Discharge) Bulbs is the latest trend in headlamp technology. Employing a different way to produce light, it is also practical since it emits a very bright light while consuming less power. Differences are literally night and day, and awestruck approaching vehicles soon become dismayed as they engage their high beams to counteract with the Xenon HID bulbs — to no avail. That alone is a proven statement that Xenon HID bulbs are way brighter, safer, and is the practical choice.

Emphasis mine. I don’t know what the writer was thinking, but how can you be driving safely when oncoming drivers are blinded by your expensive and stupid HID lights? Yes you can see them, in fact you can stare at them trying to look away from your glaring lights. Maybe you can even see them hitting you straight on. In the next paragraph, he writes:

A night demonstration employing the different light temperatures that Xenon HID Headlamp Bulbs offer is a worthwhile sight, although not for long. It is so bright that the eye can’t focus on it for extended periods. Different light temperatures were sampled out during the event, and the HIDs were even compared to a "measly" halogen bulb to further reinforce that "They’ll love your headlights; they’ll hate your headlights" statement.

Now it makes less sense even more—He knows that it’s hard to look at HID lights for a long period of time, but still they are the “brighter, safer, and is the practical choice.”

An important note to Philstar.com’s designers: Stop using frames. It breaks the flow of information within the site, and it makes linking to pages very difficult.

10 Responses

  1. While I agree with you that in the Philippine context the HID lamps would be unsafe. I have enough problems driving here when half the drivers have their hi-beam lights on.

    But that is not to say the products design is unsafe. In the states, my home, or in Europe, where I have done a lot of driving, they are a God send.

    Another note: I agree Philstar needs to dump the frames, and would also add the local papers need to add RSS functions to their sites. I have sent Emails requesting the feature to the Star, MB, Inquirer, and Manila Times and didn’t even get an automated form response of “Thanks for your input” type mail in return. Very sad.

  2. I have to agree with you marc. But here in the Philippines, many drivers think it’s better to have lights that blind oncoming drivers. And custom shops like those in Banawe reinforce this idea, by selling even brighter (and sinfully expensive) HID lights. And what’s making it worse, they install it in a configuration where it provides more glare (and danger) to other drives.

    Ang Pilipinas nga naman, oo…

  3. Finally .. someone else who HATES those new lights, they are annoying driving UP to you, they are REALLY annoying when a big SUV (which I love btw) come up behind you with these HID lights…. in the rear view mirror…so annoying.

    And these new cars that have them + the smaller lights down by the road, in the front bumper? it’s too much

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  5. It’s a sad situation when two motorists are trying to out-high-beam each other. That’s the situation now, with HID bulbs.

    another reason to keep a pair of shades on the dash eh?

  6. Adam, and when there’s no other light except yours, you feel like you can barely see. :)

    Seriously, I think the best thing to do when approaching someone with those bright HID lights is to slow down, even for just a bit.

  7. While I agree the article was a bit off for praising the blinding ability of these lights, this is an old argument of the Luddite variety.

    If you were driving in the lates 70’s, you;ll remember the same argument against Halogen lights: they blinded oncoming drivers, they were too bright (note: it takes 300 feet of visibilty at 50mph to offer sufficient reaction time, halogens RARELY make this on low beam), etc.

    Today, halogens are standard, yet no one complains. Why? Because the industry learned how to design lenses that effectively focused the light to make it more useful for the driver, and less blinding to oncoming traffic.

    The same holds true for HID. We can create a much “brighter” (more light energy with less heat energy) and have more control over the color spectrum. The researchers will figure out what color works best, both for the driver and approaching vehicles, and what light intensity is best, and how to focus the lenses.

    As a driver with crappy US-spec halogen lights (our lights SUCK compared to Eupopean lights because our laws aren’t as specific), I’m upgrading mine to HID: it’s the only viable solution to a deadly visibility problem.

    The other problem is also a cultural issue: some in the SUV realm love to be obnoxious. Once we learn to aim the lights correctly (at least Europe requires self-levelling), these vehicles will be far less of an issue.

    Just my 0.02…

  8. Anonymous, nice point regarding lens design and self-leveling of light beams.

    I guess beam height and alignment is the more important concern, especiallu here in the Philippines where it is hardly regulated at all.

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