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What are automatic dimming headlights?

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When driving at night or in low light conditions, automatic dimming headlights will automatically switch your headlights between regular and high beam for you.

How do automatic dimming headlights work?

Different cars use different technology. Some use inbuilt cameras to scan the lights of oncoming traffic and traffic in front of you to judge when high and low beam are required.

Others use laser or ultrasonic sensors to map the road in front. When they detect a car approaching, they will switch off the high beam to regular headlights and when it is safe to do so, switch back to high beams again.

What are the pros and cons of automatic dimming headlights? Do you need automatic dimming headlights on your family car?

Automatic dimming headlights are a great feature that can make driving at night easier, I do find sometimes that the lights dim or brighten at not the exact time I would like them to and can cause me to not see well enough when I need to.

What else are automatic dimming headlights called?

Auto high beams AHB
Automatic high beam dimmer system
Auto dipping headlights
Auto headlight dimmer
Smart headlights

My grandmother's TIP for driving at night…

If you are dazzled by the headlights of an oncoming car when driving at night, if you look at the white line you side of the road you will not be blinded by the glare and will be able to still see where you are going!

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Tace Clifford
About Tace Clifford
Tace Clifford founded BabyDrive in 2017 after discovering a huge information gap in mainstream car reviews that left new parents and expanding families in the dark when it came to one of the biggest purchasing decisions of their lives.


  1. if you do not have the auto dimming headlights feature and the shop replaces the assembly with this type of light, can it cause the headlights to act strangely? Ever since they did this at body repair shop, my low beams point almost directly in found of my car, have a large shadow and do not shine on the shoulders.

  2. Any ideas where to find some more detailed info on these systems? I’m trying to research how to retrofit in a car not made for it. I imagine it is going to involve an audrino or something to that effect. I got spoiled by one of my cars that has this and I want all of them to have it. 🙂

    To the other commenter, the headlight assemblies should be the same. Assuming they didn’t put the sensors in the headlights anyway. All the magic happens in the vehicles computers with the right software and sensors.
    I’m not sure how they did it back in the day, but I suspect modern systems work better. I heard from a previous coworker that Cadillac had the option in the 70’s. I assume others did too.

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