Newer vehicles are better equipped in tackling low visibility. They’ll have LEDs fitted as standard, and do an adequate job in lighting your way through urban settings, but can still fall short when out on open roads. The same goes for utes and 4WDs. They’ll need extra lighting when pitch darkness presents a safety risk. Older vehicles, and those missing out on the benefits of LED or HID headlights, struggle in such situations. To take the strain off your eyes, a good idea is to fit your car with a dedicated set of additional lights.
Different lights fulfil different purposes. It all depends on where you drive, as well as the weather conditions. You might want light spread across a wider area or ones that illuminate the road further down. This has got to do with light beam patterns. The first are known as flood lights, the second spot lights. In most cases, your vehicle will be equipped with both. Newer tech, and what most carmakers now use in cars is LEDs. Car flood lights LED will provide a decent spread of light nearer to the vehicle, so are more suitable when driving at low or moderate speeds through unlit areas. They’ll also complement the fog lights already on the car to give you the best possible visibility when the weather turns sour.
The difference between flood and spot lights is the angle at which light is projected. Spot lights project a longer beam because the light is focused at 25 to 30 degrees from the source, whereas a flood light illuminates the space ahead at around 120 degrees. You’ll find wider or narrower beams, and lights that can transition between flood and spot beams in lighting arrays with more bulbs, or in the case of LEDs, more diodes.
Halogens vs Xenons vs LEDs
Lighting tech has come a long way. Halogens are older light bulbs, the type you’d find in your nan’s Falcon or Commodore, and kneel more toward warmer colours, like orange and yellow. They produce light by heating a tungsten filament inside a glass casing. An inert gas, usually argon or nitrogen keeps things in check and prolongs the bulb’s lifespan. Halogens are cheap to produce, and hence replace, but they are compromised compared to other options. They have the lowest light output while also consuming the most energy.
Xenons, by comparison, are the brightest, but also the most expensive. They produce light in a similar way, by heating gases and rare metals, to emit a bluish light. The newest lights are LEDs. These emit more natural light, are easier on the eye, and can be combined in differently shaped housings to fit anywhere on the car. Besides this, they are also the most energy-efficient, have decent output levels just shy of xenons, will last for years without issue, and most importantly are relatively cheap to make.
LED Flood Lights
LEDs can be combined and arranged in different designs. With the high output, car flood lights LED make great driving lights used in combination with your car’s headlights. They also work well as work or utility lights useful when off-roading, or even camping or fishing. Illuminating a wider area to both left and right will help in difficult terrain to avoid damage to your car. Drivers can match two or more flood lights to get the brightest results.
What to Look for In Flood Lights
There are dozens of brands sold in Australia and significantly vary in price. Where you can, spend your hard-earned cash on Aussie designed and made LED flood lights. Here’s a checklist to ensure you get a good deal:
- Real Output or Effective Lumens – How bright lights get is measured in lumens. The bigger the number the brighter the light. For LEDs, effective lumens takes into account loss of output due to heat, the lighting arrays, lens and housings. This is the light you’ll see from LEDs after they’ve been on for 30 minutes or more.
- Colour Temperature- The benefit of LEDs is that they produce light in a more natural look, or colour temperature. Halogens tend to be on the warmer side, shining red or yellow, and Xenons spend more time on the other end of the colour spectrum, going for blues or purples. Colour temperature is measured in Kelvin. Lights that range between 4000 and 6000 Kelvin will be easier on the eyes, ranging from a cool white to warm white, and resembling daylight.
- Efficiency – How much power is needed for lights to work is also important. Cars with only LEDs will use far less power from the battery than halogens or Xenon lights. If you’re adding more lights to your vehicle, consider a secondary battery, to avoid a dead battery in the middle of nowhere.
- Build Quality and Materials – Look for quality, durable metal housings with included heat sinks (LEDs can get hot) so the overall output isn’t affected. Outer filters are made of polycarbonate so are impact resistant. Water and dust can be problems off-road or bad weather, so IP ratings will guarantee they work no matter what the conditions. High-end LEDs will have a combination of filters to diffuse the beam at different angles.
- Mounting – Where you place the lights, at what angle and direction, will affect visibility levels. LED light bars with flood beams are best up high, on roof racks, or sports bars, whereas driving lights are usually set lower. Utility lights are also set high, but are set at an angle, to light up to the side. Adjustable mounts let you play with angles and direction.
- State Regulations – Additional lights need to comply with a complex set of state regulations. See what works in your state.