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Headlamp Safety At The Core Of New Campaign

To many motorists, “vehicle maintenance” means oil changes every 3,000 miles and weekly trips to the car wash. But there’s more to maintaining a vehicle than keeping it looking good on the road and tending to what’s under the hood.

Recognizing the importance of nighttime visibility and how often headlamp maintenance is overlooked, Lumileds (founded by Philips) has launched a global safety campaign to increase awareness about headlight bulb technology and the importance of replacing headlight bulbs in pairs.

What happens to headlight bulbs as they age?
The filaments of headlight bulbs age as the bulbs are used and exposed to the elements, which include sunlight, ozone and other environmental factors. As they age, the bulbs become fragile and light begins to deteriorate, typically within two to three years of initial usage. In some cases, aging bulbs may be delivering up to 30 percent less light than they delivered when they were brand new.
Why are aging headlight bulbs unsafe?
When driving at night, many motorists may notice that sometimes one headlamp seems to be putting out more light than the other. While this is inconvenient, drivers may not know why it’s also unsafe. When one headlamp bulb is producing a substantially weaker light output than the other, the result is an unbalanced and inconsistent light beam that can diminish driver visibility at night, when drivers’ visual acuity is naturally reduced by as much as 70 percent.
Who is affected by unbalanced and inconsistent light beams?
Everyone on the road is affected when light beams emanating from vehicle headlamps are unbalanced. Drivers of vehicles that are producing uneven light beams will be driving with compromised visibility. Compromised nighttime visibility is a cause for considerable concern, as the National Safety Council® notes that traffic death rates are three times greater at night than during the day.

But oncoming motorists are also affected by unbalanced, inconsistent light beams. Such motorists may have difficulty seeing and identifying vehicles with just one headlight operating at peak capacity, and some may even mistake oncoming cars and trucks for motorcycles. That can create positioning issues that put drivers on both sides of the street in jeopardy.
Why replace headlight bulbs in pairs?
By replacing headlight bulbs in pairs, drivers are doing their best to ensure their vehicles produce consistent, balanced light beams that can make nighttime driving safer for everyone on the road. Lumileds also notes the long-supported automotive industry standard of replacing various vehicle parts in pairs. Replacing parts such as tires, brakes, shocks and wiper blades in pairs ensures vehicles will maintain proper balance and function properly when driving at night and during the day.

Drivers’ nighttime visibility suffers greatly when one headlight bulb is producing significantly less light than the other. Replacing bulbs in pairs can help motorists make the road safer for themselves and their fellow drivers. More information is available at

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