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McLearen Shell

 (28 Reviews)

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See the Light (Automatic High Beam Dimmers)

Posted December 12, 2021 12:18 PM

It's happened to all of us.  We're driving down a highway at night and over a crest appears a car with its high beams blazing.  You are momentarily blinded, hoping the other driver will switch them to their low beam setting and restore your vision.

Not only do we not appreciate being blinded, face it; we don’t want to be that other driver, either.  You know, the one who forgets to turn down their high beams.

Why do we want high beams in the first place? They can improve safety when used correctly, giving drivers more reaction time since they can see farther down the road.  But research has found many drivers either don't use them or, when they do, they frequently forget to switch to low beams.  Enter the automatic high-beam dimmer.

The quest for the perfect one began back in the 1950s, General Motors invented something it called the "Autronic Eye." It was a phototube which sat on the dashboard and turned down your beams when it saw other headlights.  While touted as being the biggest advance in night driving safety in 30 years, it didn't work all that well.  But as technology got more advanced, systems improved.

Today's automatic high beam dimmers usually have a camera in the rear view mirror (pointing forward).  When the camera sees lights, software in the system's computer attempts to determine the source of the light, whether it is an oncoming vehicle, taillights, ambient city lights, street lights or the reflection off of a street sign.  It then adjusts the headlights to operate high beams if appropriate or a less-blinding mode if they’re not.

Some automakers are striving to make their headlight systems smarter and safer by developing lamps that can avoid blinding oncoming drivers by means other than simply dimming them. One idea? Splitting the beams so they will block just the portion that shines into the eyes of oncoming drivers.

It's a long way from the Autronic Eye. 

McLearen Shell
3043 Centreville Road
Herndon, VA 20171
(703) 318-7744
http://www.mclearenshell.com



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Excellent work. Josh always does all the maintenance for my Porsche, VW Taureg, and Subi Outback. I can always count on him doing what is needed and never trying to upcharge me for work that is not needed.

, 11/30/2021

Took our Acura RDX in for brake service today. The staff at McLearen Shell did an excellent job, replacing the front discs & rotors. They advised that the rear pads still had 50% material remaining. Have had a variety of automobiles serviced at this service station over the last 25 years and there service remains outstanding and very reasonably priced. Highly recommended.

, 04/21/2022

Great team at McLearen Shell, have regularly changed out brakes, bulbs, oil, valve cover gasket, spark plugs, etc. on a 1998 Gen 4 Camry LE for the past three years. Trustworthy, professional and they know these older still-running vehicles. Always respectful to Ladies interested in vehicle mechanical function and maintenance as well

, 06/16/2021

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