More and more models in the new car market are adding what are known as automatic headlights as a standard feature.
We explain in this guide what exactly automatic headlights are, how they work and how much it is worth having them on your next vehicle.
Automatic headlights are like any other headlights you’ll get at the front of the car except that when the car is on and it is dark, they will activate automatically without the driver needing to press a manual switch.
They will stay off when conditions are clear and at daytime, but if it is later in the day or the car enters somewhere dark like a tunnel, for instance, then the automatic headlights can activate and deactivate accordingly.
Cars with automatic headlights can be turned on or off manually by the driver with the car’s controls if they choose. But if the driver selects the headlights to run as automatic like default (this setting is usually marked as ‘auto’), then they should be quick and smart enough to take care of this job for the driver.
How do automatic headlights work?
Automatic headlights tend to work by using photoelectric sensors embedded into the instrument panel, around the base of the windshield.
These sensors tend to rely on ambient light level rather than on visibility perceived by the driver. Therefore, automatic headlights may possibly decide to come on at times when the driver doesn’t think they are necessary. Alternatively, they may not come on instantly when conditions become darker or visibly poor in other ways, so drivers should be prepared to manually activate their headlights if there is a delay.
Like other automated car conveniences - such as automatic wipers, auto parking assist and emergency auto braking - automatic headlights have in recent years benefitted from how rapidly manufacturers have developed sensor technology in recent years.
Are automatic headlights worth adding?
Automatic headlights are a nice little luxury to have if they come as standard with the new car you’ve chosen to buy. But what if it’s not an automatic option but you can add them as an optional extra? Will they feel like a worthwhile investment?
That is of course ultimately your call, but the one thing that’s likely to sway your decision is considering how much it typically costs to add automatic headlights to a chosen car.
The price of adding automatic headlights to your chosen car can fluctuate quite a lot as it may be either an individual option or, more likely, come as one part of an options pack (e.g. Peugeot’s Visibility pack).