LED lights can make it harder to see pavements

With newer LED headlights one can see a very distinctive line separating the bright and dark areas.
With newer LED headlights one can see a very distinctive line separating the bright and dark areas. PHOTO: FITILITE

Having driven through some roads and expressways that are lit by the new light-emitting diode (LED) lamps, it is clear that these new lights are brighter and, arguably, more aesthetically pleasing (City streets to look brighter with 25,000 LED lamps, April 21).

However, I am concerned that this new lighting has not met its goal - to illuminate the streets and the surroundings such that it is easier for people to spot danger and react.

Due to the high-contrast nature of these brighter lights, the cut-off between bright and dark areas is much more abrupt than with conventional lighting.

For example, with traditional halogen car headlights, the transition from bright to dark is gradual.

With newer LED headlights, however, one can see a very distinctive line separating the bright and dark areas.

As a result, the periphery of the lights, including the pavements, is not sufficiently lit.

When I drove in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 and turned into the Central Expressway, for example, I encountered speeding personal mobility device riders who seemed to have appeared out of nowhere, dashing across the zebra crossing.

It is much harder to spot them travelling alongside the road with the new lighting in place.

Kevin Lim Kheng Aun

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2019, with the headline 'LED lights can make it harder to see pavements'. Print Edition | Subscribe