Drivers have urged the government to clamp down on the use of LED headlights in modern cars, which have the power to dazzle and are an increasingly significant factor in road collisions.

In a survey conducted by the AA, 76% of drivers say they have been temporarily blinded at the wheel by the headlights of oncoming vehicles, while 52% have been dazzled by the headlights of cars behind them. 26% have been blinded by brake lights while sat in stationary traffic, and 17% report being dazzled by other cars’ brake lights. 31% have even been dazzled by traffic lights.

Since 2013 there have been an average of 280 road collisions each year in which dazzling headlights were a contributory factor. On average six of these were fatal.

The headlights and brake lights of modern vehicles now use predominantly LED bulbs, which are more environmentally friendly than halogen. LEDs use less energy and last longer than halogen bulbs but have a brighter beam. Larger vehicles like SUVs add to the problem, because their headlights are higher than on standard sized cars, so are more likely to dazzle.

“Being dazzled by headlights is something most drivers experience, but it seems that many drivers are now overwhelmed with bright lights,” said Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA. “Whether you are sat in a jam or in the flow of traffic, there’s a strong chance someone near you is in some discomfort with drivers struggling with bright brake and traffic lights.

“The effects and impact of LEDs across our road network, be it from vehicles or infrastructure, needs to be investigated by the Department for Transport and its agencies with recommendations made to protect road users.”

The RAC has also urged the government to commission an independent study into the issue.