Why Your Headlights Are So Important In Alaska This Winter

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The way that a good pair of headlights will help you in Alaska
Headlight types and visibility
Tips for picking out a good pair of headlights for your car


The way that a good pair of headlights will help you in Alaska

Having a good pair of headlights will always be helpful, no matter where you are or what season it is. It is critically important that you are able to see at night and that other drivers and pedestrians are able to see you as well.

However, in the dead of winter, a good pair of headlights really helps making driving easier both at night and during the day. When it is snowing, visibility decreases tremendously. Visibility even remains low after it has stopped snowing because a snow-covered road that matches the snow-colored horizon can end up disorienting you as you drive. In fact, visibility has been known to decrease to less than a quarter mile in more extreme winter storms.

Headlights that have stronger lights increase visibility and help you navigate roads more easily.


Headlight types and visibility

It should come as no surprise that different types of headlights have different visibilities. In Alaska during the winter, you will want to get the maximum amount of visibility with your headlights. You can always switch them out later, once the worst part of the winter ends if you feel that they are a bit too much.

There are three primary types of headlights to consider: halogen, LED and Xenon.

  • Halogen – Halogen lights are the standard type of lights used in most cars these days. These are cheaper and offer the least visibility of any of the types of headlights, so we do not recommend using them for winter driving in Alaska.
  • LED – LED headlights are more expensive and have better quality light than halogens, thus they create better visibility for driving. We recommend that you choose these when you are picking a headlight for winter driving.
  • Xenon – These are the brightest lights that you can get but they are so bright that they can be extremely distracting to other drivers. Some have even described them as “blinding.” So, there currently are not any laws against these headlights, there may very well be in the future. They also take time to “warm up” in order to reach their full intensity. We do not recommend getting these type of headlights.


Tips for maximizing your headlights’ performance during the winter

When you are trying to get the most out of your headlights, using these few tricks can go a long way:

  • Make sure that your headlights are clean – It is important, on a regular basis, that you check your headlights to make sure there is not any dirt or grime on your headlights. If there is, you must take the time to clean them because dirt on your headlight covers can impede their performance.
  • Be sure that you check your headlights for snow and ice – Snow and ice can hamper the performance of your headlights the same way that dirt and grime can. However, during a storm, snow and ice can quickly accumulate. So, you should check your headlights before you get in your car but you should also keep an eye out while you are driving to see if your headlights suddenly seem dimmer. If they do, pull over when it is safe to do so and clear them off.
  • Careful with the high-beams – Your high-beams, otherwise known as brights, can be very useful when it comes to driving in Alaska’s inclement winter weather and low light. However, they can also be very distracting to other drivers. So, if you are driving with your brights on, make sure that you switch them off if on-coming traffic is going to pass you.
  • Make sure that your headlights are aimed correctly – This a mistake that people make more often than you might think. It is likely because many people are not even aware that this issue can even occur. If you install your own headlights, be absolutely sure that the blubs are properly facing forward. Often people can put the bulbs in and erroneously do so with the bulbs facing too far sideways, downward or upward. Also, blubs can be knocked out of position by a bump in the road. So, if you notice one of your headlights seems dimmer than the others, it could be because it has been knocked out of position.
  • Do not be frugal when it comes to new headlights for your car – As we have already mentioned, the better headlights, the more expensive they will be. This includes types of headlights like LEDs which are known for more brightness and better visibility.



The most important thing to remember here is that your headlights are critical to being able to see the road and being able to drive effectively and safely both in winter weather and low-light conditions. Both conditions are prevalent in Alaska for multiple months every year. In order to maximize your headlights performance, you should perform regular checks to make sure that your headlights are not covered by dirt, snow and/or ice.

Category: Alaska Car Shipping.