Full beams and distance

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OwenP
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Full beams and distance

Post by OwenP »

With a 20 mile commute each way I am currently doing a lot of driving in the dark.

For a large portion of my trip I am driving on relatively long straight roads in the middle of the New Forest which are unlit and have the potential to habour various livestock.
Conventional driving instruction, to my understanding, has always been that if a car is in front of you should be using dipped beams. However I am finding at the moment this leaves large unlit areas of road due to other cars being a long distance away although on the same stretch of road and clearly visible. Therefore my question is: At what sort of distance should there be before it is reasonable to have full beams on, if it ever is?

I don't like having large swathes of roadside (verge) in the forest unlit, equally I don't want to be blinding people.

addo
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Post by addo »

There are roads like that here, where an oncoming car is facing you for several kilometres. Generally I'd suggest a 500m separation for dipping is both safe and courteous. It the other car dips sooner, don't put off reciprocating for more than a couple of seconds.

I'd wager more Aussie drivers than UK ones have struck large animals. Not many wild camels in the New Forest...

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Xaccers
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Re: Full beams and distance

Post by Xaccers »

Find a nice long flat bit of road, and use it to adjust your dipped beam so it goes far but not high enough to blind oncoming traffic.
All of my cars were set too low so I raised them up.
Dad's picasso's dipped beam reaches about a car length, maybe two, in front of him!

OwenP
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Re: Full beams and distance

Post by OwenP »

I'd not take that wager! Don't know what Camels think of salt, but the Ponies are often found on the road, or very close to it, licking up the salt that has been put down to try and stop the road icing over.

500m sounds like a sensible sort of distance though; will try that tomorrow and see what sort of reaction I get from other road users.

@ Xac: My new car doesn't have adjustable beams (or at least I've not found them yet if it does) I think I get about a cars length on dipped beams and about 3 times that on full. Down here I normally find that most peoples are adjusted too high, and that was before I was driving the low sports car, biggest bugbear now is people getting too close behind with slightly high dipped beams.

My 406 would go from about half a car length to something like 2 car lengths with nothing in the boot.

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Xaccers
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Re: Full beams and distance

Post by Xaccers »

Crickey if my dipped were only a car length away I'd not be doing over 20mph! Especially in the New Forest.
Find out how to adjust them (are they HIDs?), go to one of the long flat strips of road the NF has with a mate some way down the road, and adjust your headlights so you get the best range without dazzling oncoming drivers.

When I was 17, one of my mates had a Cavalier, and he'd drive it with the headlight adjuster set right down low (as if there was an elephant in the boot) because he was convinced anything higher would blind oncoming traffic when it would have done no such thing. Of course worse was another friend who thought his side lights was dipped and dipped was main! How they got their licences is beyond me!

citronut
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Re: Full beams and distance

Post by citronut »

i thought the rules say see and be seen, so uf you find you can see put your main beam up, i spoz if you then light up the car in fronts No. plate maybe you should then drop back to dip beam

OwenP
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Re: Full beams and distance

Post by OwenP »

@Xac: It seems my mental image of how far the light project was a bit off :oops: closer to 3 car lengths on dipped. As far as I know they aren't HIDs. I think part of the issue with my mental image is that the beams get a bit washed out against other light sources, might need to find some pokier bulbs when they need changing. I do find myself driving slower in this (MR2) than in the 406 which is odd, but could also be me getting used to a very different vehicle than anything I've ever driven before.
The one that gets me is people driving with fog lights in perfect visibility. I've even seen people with only foglights on at night with no other lights :shock:

Will find out how the headlight adjust over the weekend though, have now found the handbook so will have a bit of a read.

@Citronut: That is a good point, hadn't really though of it like that, obvious now you've said it though.

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myglaren
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Re: Full beams and distance

Post by myglaren »

On the "pokier bulbs" question, I have recently fitted Pilips X-treme-vision 100% H7s and there is a marked improvement on the ones that they replaced.
This is dipped only, need to fit a pair of H4s for main/fog.

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Xaccers
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Re: Full beams and distance

Post by Xaccers »

I needed bulbs for Jenny's last MoT and only Halfrauds was open, so I grabbed a pair of their top brightness ones, and they made a huge difference.