With winter approaching and the clocks just about to go back, it’s likely that you’ll be driving when it’s dark more often. Driving at night makes many people uneasy, but Ford has introduced state-of-the-art features that should make travelling under darkness a lot less stressful – and, potentially, safer.
The Focus’ headlight beams can instantly adjust to illuminate the road ahead as effectively as possible. If you’re coming up to a roundabout, the beams will spread wider to allow you to see any pedestrians or cyclists at the side of the road. When a corner is coming up, the lights can also bend so you can see further.
Ford’s incredible Adaptive Front Lighting System technology works by ‘reading’ the road markings and signs. Then, it adapts the direction, breadth and intensity of the headlights to suit the conditions. While some new cars have headlights that swivel when the driver turns the wheel, the All-New Focus is one step ahead. The lights will turn just before you reach the bend – allowing you to spot potential hazards before it’s too late.
The company was testing GPS technology to control the headlights, but found that it is not always accurate. Road layout changes are common, and GPS mapping may not show the most recent version.
“The dream is that night driving need be no more difficult than driving in the day,” says lighting research engineer Michael Koherr. “Across Europe, 15% of road layouts change every year. Amazingly useful as GPS is, using signs to read the road offers the most up-to-date information you can get.”
A Ford poll suggests that up to 81% of drivers are a bit more scared of driving in the dark, while the risk of being in a fatal crash is estimated to be three times higher at night.
If you choose the Adaptive Front Lighting System on your Focus, you will also be able to enjoy glare-free high-beam, which takes the guilt away from accidentally blinding other drivers. Now, Ford is working on an infrared camera that can locate people, cyclists and larger animals up to 120 metres away.