Headlights are a main focus behind 2017 safest car awards

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COLUMBIA – Drivers should think about checking their headlights because the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced headlights were a major factor in the 2017’s TOP SAFETY PICK. 

Sarah Godke has been driving around Columbia for years and feels comfortable with the roads despite a lack of streetlights in major areas.

“I think it’s really important to have really nice headlights on your car in Columbia. There are so many roads that don’t have a lot of streetlights,” Godke said. 

The IIHS gives out two different awards: the TOP SAFETY PICK + and the TOP SAFETY PICK award. 38 models received the plus award, and 44 models earned the TOP SAFETY PICK.

“The field of contenders is smaller this year because so few vehicles have headlights that do their job well, but it's not as small as we expected when we decided to raise the bar for the awards,” said Adrian Lund, IIHS president in a statement.

The IIHS said it is increasing its focus on headlight ratings because government standards “allow for huge variation in the amount of illumination headlights provide in on-road driving.”

Godke believes tighter regulations are important.

“I really think that having stricter regulations on headlights is important,” Godke said. “When you test a car you might not be able to test the headlights, so having a strict guideline for knowing what is what would be really nice."

Josh Mesnier is another driver in Columbia who also wants to see strict guidelines. 

“The neon lights are way too bright. I think that the government should probably regulate that stuff,” Mesnier said.

The IIHS only awarded seven 2017 models with good-rated headlights. The good-rated headlights are based on how far the light is projected on strait and curved roads as well the difference between high-beam and low-beam lighting.