Lighting Tools and Resources

Automotive Lighting Survey

A new survey commissioned by SYLVANIA, the world leader in automotive lighting, suggests that half of American drivers desire better visibility during nighttime driving, and that many actually avoid traveling in the dark.

According to the survey of U.S. licensed drivers, approximately 51 percent somewhat agree or strongly agree with the statement, “At times, while driving at night, I wish I could see the road better.” And, nearly one in five say they sometimes avoid getting behind the wheel at night because it is too difficult to see.

“That’s 37 million people that won’t drive at night. And this isn’t limited to just older drivers. Half are under the age of 55,” said Joe Verbanic, Marketing Manager for SYLVANIA Automotive Lighting. “Driving at night is a stressful and uncomfortable experience for way too many of us. The good thing is that if drivers take a few precautionary measures, they can increase their visibility and keep safe during their nighttime travels.”

The survey, conducted by KRC Research, assessed drivers’ attitudes about nighttime driving. The data were gathered through a telephone survey of 1,014 adults nationwide with a total of 943 licensed drivers. The survey was conducted September 16 - September 19, 2010.


Additional results include:

  • 51 percent of drivers would feel safer at night with brighter headlights; the majority of drivers aged 18-34 would feel safer.

  • 45 percent of men say they wish they could see better at night while behind the wheel.

  • 34 percent of respondents report inadequate headlights as the main reason for poor nighttime visibility.

  • Uncertainty about nighttime driving was more prominent with female drivers.

  • 57 percent wish they could see the road better at night.

  • Women are twice as likely as men (24 percent vs. 12 percent) to avoid driving at night because of difficulty seeing.


“The research results prove that there is a definite need for education among U.S. drivers about what they can do to enhance their nighttime visibility,” said Verbanic. “Most individuals aren’t aware that headlights dim over time or that there are varying levels of technology that allow for better visibility.”

Verbanic explains that bulbs can dim up to 20 percent in two years. This could be impacting a driver’s ability to see year after year if headlight bulbs are not replaced.

In addition, there are headlight bulbs available that improve a driver’s field of vision. Verbanic suggests that since many consumers don’t frequently shop for headlight bulbs they aren’t aware there are street legal options that are brighter and whiter than what’s standard in their vehicle.

Some drivers may also be struggling to see at night because their headlight lenses have degraded. Hazy lenses restrict and alter light output but can easily be restored to like new performance with a special kit.

“It is critical for drivers to have excellent visibility so that they can see better and are able to recognize hazards like debris, animals, and most importantly, pedestrians. Whiter, brighter headlights benefit all drivers and should become a staple for those who are either uncomfortable driving at night or could benefit from an improved field of vision,” said Verbanic.

SYLVANIA offers the following headlight safety tips to coincide with October’s Headlight Safety Month:

Check your headlights by parking on a level surface facing five feet from a building wall or your garage door, then turn on your headlights. If the circles of light are bright and white, they are in good, working condition. If they are yellow or dim, the bulbs should be replaced.

Drivers who want to see better and further down the road should consider upgrading to SilverStar®

ULTRA bulbs by SYLVANIA provide up to 40 percent increased down road visibility, up to 50 percent increased side road visibility and up to 50 percent brighter light compared to worn standard halogen headlights, which are in many vehicles on the road today. These bulbs deliver the whitest and brightest light of all SYLVANIA halogen products.

Always change headlight bulbs in pairs. Because bulbs dim over time, the new one will likely be brighter than the old one, causing an uneven field of illumination. This can be distracting to both the driver and to oncoming traffic.

If the lenses on a vehicle’s headlights are cloudy or hazy, replacing the bulbs may not be enough. Consider a headlight restoration kit, which restores headlights to like-new condition and light output. The SYLVANIA kit includes a UV Block Clear Coat that protects headlights from UV rays, the number one reason headlights become dangerous. After use, motorists should see a significant improvement as the product enables up to three times more light to shine on the road.

Also download SYLVANIA’s free iPhone app at the iTunes store, which makes it easy for drivers to find the correct replacement headlights, signal bulbs and almost all other auto bulbs for their car, truck, van or SUV. SYLVANIA auto lighting products can be found at major automotive retail outlets.