Headlights prevent accidents. This is such a documented fact that non-functional headlights are considered a traffic violation.
The first and most obvious way that headlights prevent accidents is by illuminating the roadway to allow the driver to avoid hazards. For cars with a driver position close to the ground like a used Citroen C1, the standard pair of headlights is usually considered enough. Higher vehicles like a Hyundai will generally be equipped with secondary lights. The reason for this disparity is that the higher vehicle has light positions that leave a dark spot directly in front of the vehicle. In both cases, the lights brighten the roadway well ahead and provide more time for a driver to react to suddenly encountered dangers.
The second manner in which headlights prevent accidents is by alerting other drivers to the presence of the vehicle. In heavy rain or fog, a driver’s world can shrink to the road immediately surrounding the vehicle and other vehicles would be invisible until it was too late to avoid a collision if their headlights were not visible. Under such conditions, vehicles with more lights like that used Hyundai Santa Fe have an advantage as their extra headlights provide more visibility to other drivers. For these reasons, owners of lower profiled cars like the Citroen C1 will often opt to add supplementary headlights.
The last, and least considered, way that headlights prevent accidents is by making cars visible to pedestrians. Many of us forget that there is a world of individual people walking about that have absolutely no protection from the impact of a vehicle striking them. Their safety is largely reliant on their ability to detect that vehicles are approaching and avoid the path of those vehicles. Detecting these vehicles is becoming increasingly difficult as the number of hybrids and electric vehicles on the road increase. A couple of decades ago, anyone without hearing problems could hear a car coming around a blind curve long before it was in dangerous proximity. Today’s quieter cars are eliminating this early warning system, leaving headlights as the only method for early detection of approaching cars.
The goal of driving is to travel safely from one location to another. Having efficient headlights allows the driver to see dangers ahead. They also prevent the vehicle from actually becoming a danger by allowing other drivers and pedestrians to see the car coming from as far off as possible. In the war to prevent accidents, headlights are on the front line.