Modern headlights are so bright that they are temporarily blinding drivers, with some motorists taking several seconds to fully regain their sight after being dazzled by oncoming traffic, according to the RAC.
The lights that have been installed on newer models are causing a road safety hazard for drivers, the RAC Opinion Panel survey of 2,061 motorists found.
The vehicle industry’s move from traditional halogen headlamps to the brighter, newer xenon and LED headlamps appears to provide better illumination for those that have them, but oncoming drivers are suffering as a result.
The survey reveals that 65% of motorists said they are regularly dazzled by oncoming headlights even though they are dipped.
A total of 58% of motorists think modern vehicle headlights are so bright they risk causing other motorists to have accidents.
Of those who claimed to regularly get dazzled by oncoming dipped headlights, the majority felt it takes up to five seconds before they can see clearly again.
One in 10, however, said it takes from as long as 10 seconds before their vision is back to normal. Only 16% said it takes less than a second to recover.
While it is well known that older drivers often have difficulty when driving at night due to glare from headlights, the RAC findings about the dazzling effect of some new car headlights were similar among drivers of all ages.
A total of 15% of motorists surveyed by the RAC claim they have suffered a near-miss as a result of being dazzled by modern headlights that they believe are too bright.
RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “The intensity and brightness of some new car headlights is clearly causing difficulty for other road users.
“Headlight technology has advanced considerably in recent years, but while that may be better for the drivers of those particular vehicles, it is presenting an unwanted, new road safety risk for anyone driving towards them or even trying to pull out at a junction.
“Drivers also find it very distracting when they have to contend with being dazzled by bright lights in their rear view mirrors.
“While regulations specify that all types of dipped headlights must fall between a maximum and minimum luminosity the night-time driving experience of motorists of all ages is very different with many saying dipped beams of some modern vehicles are too bright.
“We look forward to seeing the progress of the United Nations’ vehicle lighting working group in April.”