It seems like when it comes to lighting, the masses prefer looks over safety and output. Perhaps they just don’t know any better; now there’s no excuse:
Cut-off and you:
Cutoff directs your light beam. It focuses more light to the side of the road on which you are driving. This is obviously to illuminate anything on the side of the road, most notably street signs, and because streetsigns aren’t on the ground, the light also goes higher vertically. The reason the light doesn’t go higher on the other side is to not blind oncoming traffic.
A LHD cutoff directs the light to the right of the roadway. Here are some visual representations:
Notice how how happy the oncoming driver is and how much light is on the side of the road. Since 3D is beyond my mspaint skills, here is a pic of a WRX I stole off hidplanet.com:
Across the ponds where they drive on the other side of the road, their light’s pattern goes the other way. So what happens when you put RHD lights on your car and drive it in a LHD world?
Not only is the oncoming driver temporarily blind, but look how unhappy they are. Also, things on the right side of the road aren’t very lit up. Atleast your JDM headlights make you look cool, right?
I searched for a bit and couldn’t find a picture of a RHD cutoff, so if anyone has a pic please share. The best I could find was this, which was actually on my computer so I don’t know who to credit it to:
I do know this guy put new projectors in his S13 Silvia triple projector headlights. The beam on the left is with the new left hand drive cutoff projector and the beam on the right is the old right hand drive cutoff stock projector. If the guy didn’t replace the driverside headlight the pattern would on the left side would actually be higher up on the wall.
Alright, so what’s the big deal. Just adjust the lights. Well while you can adjust the beam you can adjust it’s pattern. So you’re gonna end up with something like this:
You might get a little bit more light on the side of the road, but adjusting isn’t the solution. Properly adjusting the pattern requires surgery on the headlight.
In Europe they have laws which say that all overhead street signs must have their own lighting. Here in the U.S. our laws say a percentange of the light output must go up because not all overhead signs have their own lights. Because of this Euro lights don’t shoot any light up, which results in more light output directly in front of the car. If you buy “euro” “e-code” or “ECE” headlamps, you’ll know because they’ll have “E1” embossed on the lamp…just like our (legal) ones have “DOT”.
HID and you:
Most people want HID for the look or the ability to say they have HID. The ones that actually want more light output do a retrofit. Popular projectors to retrofit are TSX and S2000 projectors.
Halogen headlights weren’t designed for HID. Simple as that. Yes dropping a hid kit in your halogen lamps looks like more light to you, but the lamp can’t handle that extra output. This result is glare, and lots of it. This is what it looks like to oncoming drivers:
The worst is the guy running RHD headlights with a drop-in HID kit.
An example of no glare stolen from clearcorners.com:
More pics of what your HID should NOT look like (more stolen from hidplanet.com):
It should look like these:
^ s2000 projector