Berm Notes - Lighting Up the Night
By Henry Albert
Freightliner Trucks announced in January 2013 the availability of high - performance LED headlamps custom engineered for the Cascadia by Truck – Lite Co. LLC. I was asked to try them and give some feedback on their lighting ability.
I was told these lights would be a simple “plug and play” switch out. Therefore, while my trailer was being unloaded at the dock, I decided to take on this quick and easy project. All was going smooth during my modification as I took off all the retaining nuts from the original headlights. Everything seemed to unplug easily and this seemed to be quite an easy transition. It wasn’t long before the new headlamps were ready to be bolted into the front fenders. As I began to reach for the old retaining nuts, I realized they changed the size to fit the new stud on the rear of the new headlamps. My heart sank as I thought I was going to have to reinstall the old ones until I could get the proper size retaining nuts. I closed the hood carefully in order for the headlight not to fall out onto the pavement. I walked over to the box, which held the new headlights and picked it up. Underneath the cardboard was a small plastic bag, which held the correct size hardware for the new lights to be installed.
I was anxious for the sun to set that evening to see the results from the new LED lighting. These lights have been serving our military since 2007. They were developed for the military for the purpose of increased durability, visibility and safety to the heavy-duty platform. This was my opportunity to see how they worked in civilian duty.
The lights seemed to illuminate the darkness in a whole new array than a traditional headlamp. The lines on the road were clear and crisp. Even the signs appeared brighter and easy to read and yet with less glare. When I parked my truck for the evening, I decided to leave the lights on in order to do a small experiment. I took my personal vehicle and drove it towards the Cascadia to see how the increased forward illumination played on the eyes of oncoming traffic. The light from the new headlights appears to cascade downward protecting the view of oncoming traffic. Many of the new headlights manufactured today seem to “blind” oncoming traffic due to their brightness. However, these new LED headlights from Truck-Lite Co. gave increased visibility to the driver without blinding oncoming traffic. I’m sure there are additional benefits to LED headlamps, such as: reduced amperage draw and a longer lighting system life than incandescent bulbs.
Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc. and has been a Professional Truck Driver since 1983. Henry is a Senior OOIDA member as well as a member of Freightliner’s Team Run Smart.