“Do you guys smell something burning?” asked Sneeth Broth.
Photo by Amit Roth
Following a study on the light intensity of new car headlights, several car companies, including General Motors, Tesla, Ford Motor Company, and others, have announced that cars built in 2025 onwards will feature stadium-style floodlights with a minimum of 20,000 lumens instead of standard 3,000‑
lumen LED headlights.
The study, titled “Weak Headlights Reveal Auto Industry’s Disregard for Consumers,” was conducted by General Motors and funded by BriteLite Inc. The results revealed that headlights under 3,000 lumens do not supply adequate lighting for the average American driver. Instead, 4,000 lumens is the recommended minimum brightness output to allow driving Americans and their “rapidly weakening eyesight” to see on dark roads. Typical halogen headlights range from 1,000 to 1,500 lumens; the study describes them as “borderline neglectful” and “outdated technological garbage.” The study also found that the common practice of pointing headlights down at the road did not supply enough lighting on a driver’s surroundings, and that they should instead be pointed “straight out, or even better, up to about eye level of the people on the other side of the street.”
Some drivers have expressed qualms with this decision, citing concerns about driver safety. Sneeth Broth, a local 1999 Honda Civic driver, remarked, “I bought my car off of my roommate and it has normal headlights. I already hate having to drive. So please, why is it that every day when I’m forced to drive from my house on Mira Mesa Boulevard to campus and back, I have to deal with F‑150s tailgating me with headlights brighter than the sun, completely blinding my humble sedan driver’s eyes? Really, what is making them brighter going to do? Permanently get rid of nighttime? I wish public transportation was real.”
Rob Bean, a California Office of Traffic Safety employee, said, “These new headlight guidelines are frankly bizarre. It’s not safe to drive at night while sustaining second degree burns to your retinas. Personally, I will be driving with my welding mask on and I suggest that everyone else do the same, or at least wear eclipse goggles. You know how they say not to look straight at the sun?
It’s like that. And I know it’s annoying, but it’s just until we start enforcing headlight laws after the first lawsuit, so not too long now.”
In an X post, Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed, “Tesla always seeks to look out for its customers. New Tesla headlights will have a minimum luminosity of 40,000 lumens, so they can continue to blind the second‑banana (non-Tesla) drivers on the road. Also, the next software update will automatically turn on high beams, and these bad boys will be twice as bright.”
His statement came after a GM spokesperson promised their customers “new, gorgeous headlights that will light up the night sky, just like God intended,” assuring that “your Silverado need never