Driving in Torrential Rain Just Got Easier, Ford Headlights Adjust Automatically as ‘Cloud Burst’ Events on the Rise


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COLOGNE, Germany, Sept. 21, 2016 – Even for experienced drivers, torrential rain can quickly transform a comfortable journey into a stressful one, as the road ahead becomes more difficult to see. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent across Europe and Ford vehicles now offer Weather-Dependent Lighting technology that automatically improves visibility when the heavens open.

The system ensures a wider and shorter beam that better illuminates pedestrians and cyclists at the side of the road and reduces glare for oncoming traffic. Part of Ford’s Adaptive Front Lighting System, the technology is activated through windscreen wiper activity, ambient light conditions and driving speed.

“Many drivers will have experienced a ‘cloud burst’ event – a sudden downpour that can quickly make it a challenge to even follow road markings,” said Thorsten Warwel, manager, Lighting, Ford of Europe. “Ford has for some time offered automatic headlights and windscreen wipers. Now our Weather-Dependent Lighting technology helps drivers to tackle even more demanding driving conditions.”

One U.K. study shows that relative accident rates can increase by up to 82 per cent when it is raining. Research also highlights that from a driver’s perspective, when rain water levels rise above road markings, even reflective markings can disappear under the glare of headlamps. Countries including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania and the U.K. experienced floods this year. According to a report from the European Commission, the intensity of rainfall has increased even in some areas with decreased average rainfall. The European Environment Agency predicts heavy rain events across most of Europe will increase between 5 per cent and 25 per cent in summer and between 15 per cent and 35 per cent in winter during this century.

In the U.K, 2015 was the seventh wettest year on record. Seven of the U.K.’s 10 wettest years have occurred since 1998. The U.K. government this month announced that new flood defence plans will anticipate between 20 per cent and 30 per cent more extreme rainfall based on research by the Met Office for the National Flood Resilience Review.

The Adaptive Front Lighting System adjusts the headlight beam angle and intensity to match the driving environment, such as a longer, straighter beam for better visibility further ahead at motorway speeds, or by directing light further into a bend when cornering on country roads. Testing included a purposebuilt light simulation area and test drives in night-time conditions around the globe.

Ford’s Adaptive Front Lighting System is available for models equipped with high-intensity discharge Xenon headlights – including C-MAX and Grand C-MaxFocus and Kuga – and for models equipped with Ford Dynamic LED headlights – including EdgeGalaxyMondeo and SMAX.

Further sophisticated Ford lighting technologies include Glare-Free Highbeam that removes the guilt of accidentally dazzling other drivers, and helps users see more of the road ahead at night. The system avoids drivers having to dip their headlights by simply blocking those rays that would otherwise shine in the eyes of other road-users, and is available for S-MAX, Galaxy and Edge.