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Thursday, 4 June 2015

Are you level headed?

The little known headlamp setting that could make a big difference.

You would hope that most drivers are able to tell you which headlight setting they should use and when, but if you've ever noticed this little known icon somewhere on your car's dash you may have been wondering what it is for. It usually has a number of settings anywhere from "0" through to "4" 

Internationalised ECE Regulation 48, in force in most of the world outside North America, currently specifies a limited range within which the vertical aim of the headlamps must be maintained under various vehicle load conditions. 
The majority of vehicles don't have self-levelling headlamps (under these regulations vehicles with Xenon lights must) and it is the responsibility of the driver to set them correctly. With one or two people sitting in the front seats without any luggage, the leveller should be set at "normal" or "0". This prevents glare from your headlights dazzling oncoming drivers - and vice versa.
You might be forgiven for wondering so what? What difference does it make?
Well here are two pictures to compare with the headlights on dipped beam. Picture 1 has the headlamp set correctly at "0" and picture 2 is set incorrectly at "4"




The white posts in the pictures are about 3 metres apart and the difference is evident. With the headlamp level set correctly you can see 9 posts ahead and the centre line, but incorrectly set you can see barely 4 posts and no centre line.

"In terms of safety this could mean the difference between hitting a pedestrian or missing them or even seeing a bend in the road too late."

Check your owner's manual to find more information about the correct settings for your vehicle - it's not always the big things that count, it's sometimes the small things that make all the difference.
Spot the control....