Where's Nissan design headed? Look at the lamps


Did today's automotive designers collectively fail (or not bother with at all) light properties in physics class?

We didn't seem to have all these issues with glare, focus, and poor throw when everyone used sealed beams... likely because they used a symmetric reflector cone and a straight forward-facing lens. They could be re-aimed easily without opening the hood - a simple Philips screwdriver did the job.

When the replaceable bulb was permitted starting with the 1984 Lincoln Mark VII, we were told how great and easy they were to use and maintain. Except, the lens angled back to the hood and sides sent stray light upwards and off into the eyes of oncoming drivers. And that "easy to replace" bulb? Sure, the bulb itself can be replaced without tools, but I actually have to use a socket wrench with an extension to remove three bolts on my current vehicle just to *get* to that "easy to replace" bulb. Now we've added the "interrupted" light design where some lights are physically in front of others. Anybody with a flashlight and a quarter - turn on the flashlight in a dark room, then put the tip of the quarter in front of the bottom of the lens and tell me what happens to the throw of the light. Raising the headlights on the vehicle also allows the beam to diffuse before reaching the road - anyone who drives at night regularly knows how many people are driving with their fog lights on as standard practice - because the headlights aren't doing jack when it comes to illuminating the road immediately in front of the vehicle.

Reminder to designers: the amber and red lights are for other people to see the vehicle. The white lights (headlights, fog lights, reverse lights) are the ones that help the driver see. Keep them closer to the road to prevent diffusion, face the lenses forward to prevent glare, and stop worrying about making them look like something out of the Jetsons... which will also greatly reduce their replacement costs - $500+ for a headlight assembly means unnecessary overdesign.


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