Starting in 2016, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety began testing headlights and incorporating their performance into the coveted Top Safety Pick ratings. Headlight performance coined Good or Acceptable was required to even be a contender for Top Safety Pick+, the highest rating IIHS awards. Numerous cars lost out on the top rating due to headlight performance alone. While Good or Acceptable headlights used to be enough for the top slot, only cars with Good headlights are eligible in 2018 models. This, plus the addition of a passenger-side small offset frontal crash test, dwindled the Top Safety Pick+ list to just 15.
We can all agree that good headlights are a plus, but there’s a big loophole in IIHS’s headlight testing methodology. You can read all the precise details of how IIHS tests headlights on its website. These tests