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How Automatic High Beams help make your night driving safer

Mar 04, 2017

Automatic High Beam Corolla Top of Page v2

Seeing and being seen are fundamental to everyone’s safety on the road. That’s why Automatic High Beams are an essential part of Toyota Safety Sense™ (TSS), a suite of advanced safety features to be included on virtually every vehicle produced by Toyota by Autumn 2017.

TSS is offered in the form of two packages—Toyota Safety Sense™ C (TSS-C) for compact vehicles and Toyota Safety Sense™ P (TSS-P) for midsize and large vehicles—and Automatic High Beams are available in both.

Although advanced safety systems like this are typically only featured in luxury vehicles, Toyota believes we all deserve to arrive safely, and providing more people with access to Automatic High Beams can help.

Continue reading to find out how they work and what they do to enhance road safety during nighttime driving.

What are Automatic High Beams?

Toyota’s Automatic High Beams, sometimes known as high beams assist, is a safety system designed to help drivers see more of what’s ahead at nighttime—without dazzling other drivers.

It can be tough to know when high beams or low beams will provide you with the best possible visibility, and even harder to know if you’re creating glare for other drivers, but Toyota’s Automatic High Beams take care of the guesswork.

When enabled, the system automatically switches between high and low beams as appropriate to provide the most light possible and enhance forward visibility.

By using high beams more frequently, the system may allow earlier detection of pedestrians and obstacles.

How do they work?

When you’re driving in low light conditions at speeds above approximately 34 km/h, your high beams will automatically activate. The system then uses an in-vehicle camera to help detect the headlights of oncoming vehicles and taillights of preceding vehicles.

If the camera detects one of these light sources, or if your speed drops below approximately 27 km/h, the system automatically switches to low beams. Once the system senses the oncoming vehicle has passed, or the distance between your vehicle and the preceding vehicle increases, it will automatically revert back to high beams.

Why are they so important?

Driving at night could increase your risk of an accident if you can’t clearly see what’s ahead of you. Although high beams are often the solution to better visibility at night, research shows that drivers aren’t using them as often as they could be, for a variety of reasons.

Not only is it easy to forget to switch back and forth between your high and low beams when you’re focused on driving, but a U.S. study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that the feature also tends to be underutilized by drivers because they believe their environment is well lit, or because they don’t want to distract other drivers on the road.

The study also revealed that people think they use them more often than they do. Although 81 percent of U.S. drivers reported using high beams on winding, rural roads with little or no street lights, and 22 percent reported using them on city streets with little or no lighting, a separate roadside survey found that as few as 18 percent of U.S. drivers actually used their high beams when they could be.

This led the study’s authors to conclude that systems like Toyota’s Automatic High Beams, which eliminate the underuse of high beams, have the potential to improve road visibility and reduce nighttime crashes.

Automatic High Beam system operates at speeds above approximately 34 km/h. Factors such as a dirty windshield, variable weather, lighting conditions and hilly terrain will limit effectiveness, requiring the driver to manually turn it off. Please see, your local Toyota Dealer or Owner’s Manual for details.