As long as we're on the subject of headlights ...

What does anybody have to say about the new xenon lights? Other than “*!@###$$** those blinding bright blue headlights on some rich *%%!!'s *!!**%@@ snobmobile” that is. What are the like to be on the driver’s side of? I’ve heard people say they’re great, and other people say they’re like driving in a bathtub. A search reveals that we’ve discussed what the novel blue lights were before, but not specifically kicked around driver impressions. They are starting to turn up on less expensive cars now, so more of us may have to consider the pros and cons.

Remember when the halogen lights came in, and only turned up on expensive vehicles at first? Now they’re everywhere. I’m wondering if the HID xenons are going to follow the same path.

“…like driving in a bathtub”

What does this mean???

As a pedestrian, they are interesting to look at, until one stares you in the face. Their intensity seems to affect my night vision more than older headlamps, and I tend to overestimate their distance due to the small profile. But I can live with 'em–or die trying.

<sigh>… I’ll use small words so’s you can understand…

It means that it is like driving… in a bathtub?

Nevermind… will someone kindly use small words so’s I can understand?

Sorry, I have no experience driving in bathtubs.

The Car talk guys say that there are a lot of xonon nockoffs which are not properly aimed. Their column:

They say nothing about bathtubs though. This column seems to indicate that the lights on the less expensive cars are not real xenon lights.

I hate those new headlights. Way too bright. A real hazard/annoyance to other drivers.

(for that matter, I hate all unnecessarily bright outdoor lights, but I’ve already expressed that in the Pit)

“Like driving in a bathtub” was a phrase I heard applied to them to express the fact that they lit up the immediate area in front of you extremely well, but left you blind beyond that range. It stuck with me for some reason.

The Click and Clack column was interesting. Thanks. I like Ray’s closing remark:

They also make the point about cheap knockoffs, improper aiming, and so on. They also seem to think they’re wonderful for the driver. Tom:

As Ray prophesied, they are working their way down to less expensive models as manufacturer installed options, and we will assume manufacturers are installing real xenons. For some reason Audis seem to have REALLY blue lights, and Audi seems to be pushing them hard - they offer them across their whole model line. Their entry level cars are low $20K range, hardly exclusive territory these days.

Daniel Stern has much to say: To sorta summarize, HID is a brighter lightsource. For a given headlamp pattern, the brighter lightsource will be more obvious. Being that DOT lowbeam headlamps already glare, it’s much more glare using a HID source.

As for them appearing blue, the glass element used in projector headlamps is more prone to color seperation: