On Yellow vs. White-Hued Headlights (and high beams)

I was driving on the freeway tonight, and suddenly when I looked in the rear-view I felt semi-blinded by the lights of the car behind me. My first reaction was, “does this asshole have his high beams on?” But I couldn’t really be sure. I watched the rear-view more intently for the next few minutes and what I did notice was that his headlights were definitely much whiter than most of the other cars behind me, which mostly had a yellowish hue to them.

Then I started looking at the lights of the oncoming traffic and realized that maybe about 1 car in 20 has distinctly whiter lights than the rest. I don’t think they are driving with their high beams on, but rather they just have white main lamps. How I never noticed this before in all my years of driving is amazing. I mean, I’m sure I did notice somewhat subconsciously but just never really thought about it before.

So my first question is why would they manufacture a minority of cars with these harsh/annoying white lights in the first place? And secondly, when it comes to high beams, are they more likely to be white even when the main lights are yellow? Do white lights seem brighter than yellow ones even if they’re actually not? Example 1* - in this one the car clearly has yellow main lamps and white high beams. Example 2 - but in this one it seems like both sets of lights are white in hue. Example 3 - I can’t tell, it seems like both might be yellow but they just blend together, which seems to be how they look much more commonly than the first two examples where the lens flares make it easy to distinguish the two sets of beams.
*Fun footnote, while Googling for images of high beams I discovered a new, alternative definition for the term high beams that I didn’t know before. If you don’t know it already, I recommend not Googling it while at work. :smiley:

They are H.I.D. headlights. They can be very bright and very blue in colour.
Some are fitted to some cars as original equipment and work ok.
The problem is when Bubba buys a kit from E-bay and they do not suit the reflectors.
They can sometimes be illegal if wrongly adjusted.

Top quality FACTORY INSTALLED HID lights may be white, though early models were in many cases quite blue. But now the majority of the WHITE headlamps are likely FACTORY INSTALLED LED units.

As Seren359 noted there are aftermarket installed lamps of both types that are either the wrong color or provide more glare to other drivers than they do functional illumination to the driver of the car carrying them.

I just don’t understand how someone thinks a reflector designed for a filament approximately 1/2" long and 1/32" in diameter can be replaced with an LED of a different size and shape will produce a correct beam of light.

There’s also a market for spoilers on FWD cars.

I thought that was for sitting on the trunk and using it as a table. No?

The vast majority of automobile spoilers are purely ornamental but positive traction is a requirement of controlled driving, no matter which wheels are powering the car. A spoiler is either functional or decorative, FWD or RWD is entirely irrelevant to the fact.

Do you think the spoiler on this FWD car is stupid?

The saddest thing is that you can buy normal lamps for cars that have a blue tint (literally just blue-tinted glass around the bulb) so you can pretend to have HIDs. And they’re also more expensive than normal bulbs.

And actually put less light out where you need it.

Considering there appears to be bodywork intended to produce downforce on the front wheels, no.
Do you really think that car compares to a Honda Civic?

blue light is well known to cause more glare

You mean likethis one?

The point is, some idiot on the street with a spoiler on his car is 99% of the time completely wasting his money on style. However that is not to say that an actual functional wing won’t help a FWD car in a racing situation.

No, I was thinking of the street racer wannabes. You know, the ones with the fart cannon and horsepower enhancing stickers.

Most of these types of lights I see look more white than blue, but might have a very minor bluish cast to the hue. I would think a really “blue” light would be totally illegal, since those are reserved for emergency vehicles.

Yes it is much more subtle than that; it’s more like a dazzling white light that as it fades to nothing at the edges has a blueish tint.
It’s more noticeable at distance; if you’re just turning a corner and right in front of you an oncoming car has HID lights you usually won’t perceive any blue.

ETA: I share the OP’s annoyance. Whether it’s HID or LED too many cars have dazzling headlights that make it difficult to see anything else.


Your first post clearly implied that putting a spoiler on a FWD vehicle was a pointless endeavor. I addressed ornamental spoilers in my first reply and you responded by pointing out the front spoiler at the drive wheels and implying that I chose an unfair example.

What does this have to do with the rear spoiler? Positive traction at all wheels is a requirement of controlled driving. Not just the drive wheels as your original statement implies. All the wheels. For a functional spoiler, FWD or RWD is irrelevant. If anything, FWD vehicles tend to be nose heavy and therefore better candidates for rear spoilers, but I’ll admit that’s a stretch.

You made a statement that implied that applying downforce to non drive wheels was pointless. Your followup supported your faulty logic and when shown the very car you chose as an example in race trim with a functional spoiler over the non drive wheels, you state that you were talking about decorative spoilers that I addressed from the very beginning. You were wrong. Stop trying to talk your way around it.

I thought so too, but there are still people with truly blue (not just bluish white) lights on their cars driving around.

Not long ago, I was in traffic next to a BMW with “angel eye” or “halo” lights that were well and truly blue, and now and then, I see cars with blue LEDs in randomly odd spots like where turn signal repeaters would be, or on their wipers.

Maybe a hijack but I’ve noticed a few pink headlights out there. Usually only one of the two so it doesn’t seem to be on purpose - more like someone grabbed a pink replacement light at the auto parts store.

Are you sure it’s pink? I’ve definitely seen lights that are purple hued, but none that are pink.

Does anyone know if there are any laws against these bright white lights anywhere yet? We have all sorts of laws against useful car adaptions, so you’d think that blinding fellow motorists wouldn’t be allowed.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen pink, but I’ve known people that have just colored over the lenses with markers to produce different colors, so, anything’s possible.

IMHO, the color temperature, brightness and how the beam is aimed should be regulated by law*. There’s no reason that a car three quarters of a mile in front of me (coming towards me) should already be blinding me. That means the lights are aimed wrong or too bright.
*I’m even willing to have OEM/factory lights have one law and aftermarkets be a bit ‘looser’ so that people can buy a car and run out and put brighter ones in…that still won’t blind on coming traffic.

You can get HID lights in several colors, including pink. Not sure if the bulbs themselves are specific colors or if it’s just tweaking voltage/frequency with the ballast.