Two-fold Safety Risk

Dirty vehicle headlamps present a two-fold safety risk. In addition to drastically reducing visibility for the driver, they can also cause a dangerous level of glare for oncoming traffic, warn DEKRA’s accident experts. Especially when drivers travel on wet and dirty roads, it is advisable to clean the headlamps more frequently.

Dirty Headlamps 1
  • Reduced visibility and increased glare
  • Gradual build-up of dirt is often noticed too late
  • Clean lighting devices more often after driving on wet and dirty roads

“Dirt on vehicle headlamps builds up gradually. As a result, drivers often don’t notice the declining quality of the lighting in their field of vision for a long time,” says Danijel Cakeljic, accident specialist at DEKRA. “Usually, drivers don’t take action until half of the headlamp is already dirty and the range of its beams is significantly reduced.” On wet and dirty roads, driving for around half an hour can already be enough to compromise the headlamps. “Reduced visibility increases the risk of the driver potentially not noticing objects on the road, such as a broken-down vehicle or crossing pedestrians, until it is too late to brake or swerve in time,” Cakeljic emphasizes.

Another problem is the increased glare for oncoming road users. This can result from awkward scattered light effects if the diffusing or clear glass lenses of the headlamps are dirty, causing the low beam’s channeled “cone of light” to shine in all directions. This can have a blinding effect on other traffic users.

“Dirty headlamps therefore present a two-fold risk. Especially when driving in wet and dirty conditions, it is necessary to pay more attention to the condition of the headlamps, and to clean them regularly,” DEKRA’s experts advise.

If the vehicle has a headlamp cleaning system, then the driver is relieved of this task. The system ensures improved visibility and therefore improved safety in case of adverse weather conditions. Naturally, this is only the case if the system is in good working order and filled with enough washer fluid.