LED Lighting – A Potential Lifesaver!

LED Headlights, LED Spotlights, LED Lightbars, there are so many lighting options out there today and at the forefront are LED headlights and Lightbars. Hell, here at 4WD DIY we stock a decent range ourselves. But there is a reason for that, and that’s because they may potentially be a lifesaver.

Now, you may be sitting there and thinking that this is an exaggeration, and you’re completely welcome to that option, however we’d like to walk you through some information that we have found.

According to Youi, 5.4% of Car accidents every year are due to animal strike, and this is often as a result of reduced visibility. A large number of these accidents occur in rural areas, and in times of poor visibility, with 3-6PM, so coming into winter, right as the sun is going down!

Now of course that doesn’t mean that these numbers are consistent across the country, according to Navman, who analysed the government’s road death data, they found:

In South Australia the most fatalities occurred between 11am and midday, while in Tasmania it was between 1pm and 2pm. ACT drivers should be extra vigilant between 4pm and 5pm and Northern Territory driver’s should watch out during dusk between 7pm and 8pm.
Saturday was found to be the most dangerous day in nearly every state.

Source

So we get it, and I’m sure you do, dirivng is dangerous.

The other thing we would like to bring up is that Australia is a bloody massive country, if you didn’t know that, you need to get out more.

Now I’m bringing this up because the great Australian weekend generally consists of:

  • Knocking off from work on a Friday Arvo
  • Getting home around 5:30-6PM
  • Tossing the Wife, Kids, and Camping Gear in the car
  • Heading out of town around 7PM
  • Drive through the night to get where you’re going

Now, this is all well and good, but with the average Aussie working a 9-5 Job, and the average kids going to School ~7AM to get on the bus, most parents are up around 6AM and that means that by the time they are heading out of town on a Friday night, they’ve already been awake in excess of 12 hours and have worked a full day at work.

Now, we know that we’re never going to change that attitude, however we’d like you to take a look at the following chart:

Now as you can see in the above chart, the longer that someone is awake, then the more fatigued they are, and the more likely they are to crash.

So how do I reduce fatigue?

Humans are a daytime animal, we are designed and adapted to being awake in daylight and asleep when there is no daylight. Now the absence of daylight means that our body starts to feel more tired, and therefore we fatigue faster.

Adding to this, humans are practically colour blind in the dark, this comes down to how our eyes are designed, but in a nutshell, unless the light we are using to see has a certain temperature, or colour, we are essentially colour blind.

This means that our brain is working harder to try and “guess” between shadows, blurs, Kangaroos, and rocks on the side of the road.

This also means that your depth perception is also off at night, it is much harder to judge distance at night. This means that a Kangaroo can “sneak up on you” at night via a combination of your headlights, depth perception, colour blindness and general fatigue.

Have a look at the following chart and try and guess which colour is best for you:

If you guessed in the 6,000-8,000K range, then you are bang on the money!

The other thing you have to consider is that at 100km/h your car will travel 100m every 4 seconds.

Your Dipped (Low Beam) Headlights will illuminate around 25-40m of area ahead of your car, and your Main Beam (High Beam) headlights will illuminate approx 90-110m ahead of your car, These are pretty standard distances across most manufacturers.

This however means that you generally have <2 Seconds to react when using Dipped Beam and ~4 Seconds to react when using High Beam headlights to drive by.

Now, the standard human reaction time is on average, 0.25 seconds.

So this means that at 100kmh you see the Kangaroo, then 0.25 Seconds later you realise a Kangaroo is there, you decide to react and step on the brakes, which takes a further 0.25 seconds, and then around 0.5 seconds to move your foot from the accelerator to the brake.

This means that until anything happens, you have already wasted a full second of time and wasted 25m of braking area between you and the Kangaroo.

However, of note, as the following chart shows, the older you get, the worse your reaction time will get, to a point. However at a certain point, you’re probably less reacting and more anticipating:

So what will help me here?

Simply put, more time to react.

If we can increase:

  • Distance you can see
  • Clarity of what you see
  • Colour perception of what you see

We may not necessarily decrease your reaction time, but we can help you increase the time you have to react within.

As you can see above, there is a LOT more you can see based on the above ISOLUX data, you can gain the following:

ItemMax DistanceIncrease over Factory High Beam
Low Beam40m-63.4%
High Beam110m0%
Synergy Spotlights1,091m891.82%
Velocity 50″ DRC Bar1,416m1,187.27

Now personally, I think that speaks for itself!

Simply adding a set of LED Spotlights, you can see 891.82% further than with a factory set of headlights, and by fitting a decent lightbar, you can get up to 1,187.27% more distance!

So how much reaction time will I get with a set of spotlights?

Well for this, we can assume you are travelling down a country road at 100km/h:

DistanceTime
110m (High Beam Max Distance)Approx. 4 Seconds
1,091m (Synergy Spotlights)Approx. 39 Seconds
1,416m (Velocity DRC Lightbar)Approx. 51 Seconds

Summary

So, as you can see in the above tables, a good set of spotlights will help you increase your time to react, increase the distance you can see, and reduce the fatigue by using a more natural daytime light colour.


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