Dipped beam - symmetrical or asymmetrical?

Symmetrical or asymmetrical passing lights

Driving a car on the road involves meeting certain technical requirements of the vehicle. The lighting must also be fully operational and comply with the parameters stipulated by the regulations. The type, colour and shape of individual headlamps must not be random. This also applies to dipped beam headlamps, whether symmetrical or asymmetrical. Find out which type is required.

Table of Contents:

  1. What role do dipped headlights play in a car?
  2. Symmetrical and asymmetrical lights - differences
  3. Symmetrical lights in Poland

What role do dipped headlights play in a car?

Efficient car lighting is important for driving safety and comfort. On the one hand, it illuminates the driver's path, making it clearly visible even after dark. On the other hand, it makes the vehicle visible to other drivers. At the same time, car lighting serves to communicate with other road users. It allows them to signal turning, braking or emergency stopping manoeuvres.

One of the types of lighting in a car are the dipped headlights, or so-called "short lights". Their primary task is to illuminate the driver's path in front of the vehicle. For this reason, they should be set so that they cover an optimal part of the road surface. Cars all over the world are fitted with asymmetrical and symmetrical lamps. They differ mainly in the way they operate.

Symmetrical or asymmetrical lights in a car

Symmetrical and asymmetrical lights - differences

For about half a century of automotive development, cars were only fitted with a symmetrical lights. In Poland, they were in force until 1957, when the relevant legislation introduced changes in this respect.

What is the difference between the two types of lighting? It is not about the shapes of the lamps, as the nomenclature might suggest. The asymmetry of the lighting comes down to the range of light emitted by each spotlight.

Those importing vehicles from abroad may wonder whether the following apply to them dipped-beam headlamps symmetrical or asymmetrical. In Poland, it is essential to use asymmetrical lights. These are lamps which direct the beam so that it does not dazzle other road users. At the same time, they better illuminate the right-hand shoulder on which pedestrians can walk and also make road signs visible.

The regulations also state that the beam emitted by the headlights must form an angle of not less than 0.1% with the road and illuminate the road for a distance of not less than 40m and not more than 300m.

Symmetrical lights in Poland

Asymmetrical and symmetrical lights differ in the way they illuminate the carriageway, but Polish and European traffic regulations also differ in their approach to them. Practically the only country in the world where the principle of the symmetry of dipped headlights still applies is the United States. However, since many cars are imported from this country, such as the Fords that have been popular for years or the Chryslers, Jeeps and Chevrolets that are increasingly appearing on the streets, it is important for their purchasers to whether symmetrical lights in Poland are accepted.

The reality is not very optimistic, especially as lighting is one of the equipment items controlled during registration and technical inspections. When confronted: symmetrical lights vs. review, the law in Poland, which says "NO" to these lights, always wins. The owner of a vehicle with such lamps will leave the inspection station with the proverbial bill. Unfortunately, the wrong type of dipped headlights is not a fault that can be easily rectified on the spot. Modifications must be carried out at a specialised workshop.

That's why, when deciding on a car model from overseas, it's a good idea to buy one with homologation or, immediately after importing it, to have it checked by a specialist who will adapt the US lampsIt is also worth knowing that non-compliance with road traffic regulations in Poland concerns not only the dipped headlights, but also the rear fog light or the odometer indicating miles, not kilometres.