What Are Adaptive Headlights? (All You Need To Know)

The technology we have available to us every single day helps make our lives easier, more fun, and even safer. One place where safety technology scores huge is in our automobiles.

We went from seat belts to airbags, to having automatic braking, and now, adaptive headlights. And what does all that do for us? It keeps us safe. Adaptive headlights are a new technology here in the states, and in this article, we’ll explain what they’re all about!

What Are Adaptive Headlights?

Adaptive Headlights are exactly what they sound like- they adapt to the road and condition you are driving in. Adaptive Headlights can light up your road without blinding other drivers, can recognize curves and corners, and adjust to give you a better view, and by the time they come out, some speculate they will do much more.

In less than two years, we will start to see vehicles sold here in America with adaptive headlight technology. What does it do? How does it work? Read on to get those answers and more!

How Do I Know If My Car Has Adaptive Headlights?

Paying attention to your headlights and the way they react at night time will be the best way to tell if you have adaptive headlights.

If your headlights change angles when you start to turn or when oncoming traffic is coming your way, you have adaptive headlights.

Whether you have HID, LED, or halogen headlights, the only way non-adaptive headlights will change your line of sight is when they’re switched from low to high beam and vice versa.

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What Car Models Have Adaptive Headlights?

What Car Models Have Adaptive Headlights?

Up until November 2021, cars were not allowed to have adaptive headlights in the states.

However, Biden recently signed a bill, allowing U.S. manufacturers to use this technology on new cars that will be produced in the future.

In as little as two years, tons of new cars are expected to come with adaptive headlights standard here in the U.S.

Also, this will allow aftermarket manufacturers to sell adaptive headlight kits for cars that don’t have them standard.

Are Adaptive Headlights Worth It?

Adaptive headlights might be hard to get used to at first. If you have driven your whole life with non-adaptive headlights, there will surely be a learning curve.

However, in the end, adaptive headlights will help with visibility and help see road hazards better.

What Is Adaptive Front Headlight System?

Better known as AFS for short, adaptive headlights are a fairly old technology that moves the headlights in the direction you are turning.

This technology is dated all the way back to the ‘50s.

The reason why you may be just now hearing about them is that they were never popular due to their inability to work efficiently.

They have been popular overseas recently, and are now about to make a big splash in the market here in the U.S.

With better technology and updated features, the adaptive front headlight system can adapt to keep headlights from blinding oncoming traffic, and can light up more of the road in the direction you are traveling.

Why Are Adaptive Headlights Illegal?

Why Are Adaptive Headlights Illegal?

Adaptive headlights were declared illegal because of a law from 1967 that was long forgotten about.

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This law required all headlights to have a separate high beam and low beam setup on the vehicle.

By the time this law was outdated, and there was new technology rendering it obsolete, it would take forever for that law to be revisited by government officials to decide whether it should remain in place.

Are Adaptive Headlights Reliable?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) believes that an estimated 90-percent of nighttime crashes that occur from going around a curve could be prevented.

There is also an estimate by big insurance companies that there is a 5-10-percent decrease in overall accidents in vehicles that have an adaptive headlight system.

Can You Turn off Adaptive Headlights?

Can You Turn off Adaptive Headlights?

There is always a way to turn off a function on a vehicle by pulling the fuse that is linked to the working electrical part/function.

However, as the future of adaptive headlights evolves, there will likely be a simpler way to disengage the function.

If you want to know more, you can also read our posts on what are automatic headlights, what headlights to use in fog, and why do headlights keep burning out.


Adaptive headlights have been legal in many other countries, but here in the U.S., they have just become legal as of Nov. 2021, thanks to a bill signed by President Biden.

They may seem kind of gimmicky, but with advanced technology, adaptive headlights look like they could be the wave of the future for all new vehicles.

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