Dim headlights haunt more than half of America’s cars, reducing visibility and increasing risks of accidents

Source: 3M

Let’s do an experiment: Walk around the parking lot at your office or on your next trip to the mall. What do you see on approximately half of the cars in the lot? Hazed, plastic headlights.

This is a safety issue on America’s roads, one that rarely comes to light unless an accident occurs. In fact, limited visibility is the cause of many accidents, and some 35 percent of accidents involve frontal impact. And when the time changes in the fall and kids hits the streets for back-to-school and Halloween, the dangers increase. Here are some facts to consider:

• Hazed plastic headlights were a cost- and weight-saving improvement for cars over the last 15 years, but they may not hold up to weather and time.

• With the average age of cars on the road approximately 10 years old, the problem is growing.

• Hazed headlights reduce visibility for the driver on the road and make the car less visible to other drivers.

• Many drivers don’t know they have the problem, and can’t even identify that their headlights’ brightness has decreased.

• The Car Care Council found that 26 percent of the cars it inspected had issues with their lighting systems.

• Most of the cars sold in the United States in the last 10 years have plastic headlight lenses.

• The problem is very common on both domestic and international models, from economy to high-end vehicles

What’s the solution?
Replacing the lens can cost up to $1,500, but for some lenses, it may be the only choice. However, there are professional-grade and consumer repair kits available that will not only polish the lenses, but also remove the hazing and improve clarity.

Consumer kits come with everything needed, except for the required cordless drill, and are available at national retailers offering automotive maintenance products.

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