The '1 LUX reading a newspaper' myth exposed. Buying driving lights? Beware!

Whilst comparing lights you would probably be familiar with the '1LUX @ 'X' distance claim', a seemingly convincing diagram and what it implies. Most light brands do it. Media and salespeople share it (in good faith) with you because they believe it assists you. Say or repeat anything often enough and quickly it can become a 'truth' even if it is deceptive or a lie. By the end of this article you may well reconsider how you choose any light in the future or how this played into influencing a previous purchase.


What is 'LUX'?

A very basic definition: "A unit of illumination equal to the direct illumination on a surface that is everywhere one meter from a uniform point source of one candle intensity or equal to one lumen per square meter." Read more - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lux

Why FYRLYT chooses not to use this marketing.

Simple. It is potentially deceptive without full context. It is designed to have you believing you are getting something of huge benefit you are not. This 'factoid' hype has long been standard practice in marketing driving lights and spotlights for over two decades.

Where it begins. At the 'LAB'.

Data is laboratory generated indoors at close distance in a controlled clean air environment. The '1 LUX' is an extrapolated hypothetical peak measurement (rarely across the beam of any meaningful volume relative to driving). Hold that thought as now the plot thickens...

Why is the test not in real world conditions?

Simple. The claimed 'X' distance in most cases would never be achieved. Why? Due to air quality variations (moisture, dust etc) and the TYNDALL effect of light scattering.

A typical laboratory test does not even take into account the properties of the wavelength of the light in these conditions. This is a big problem especially with many LEDs used in automotive lighting and their typical short wavelength. It is a basic principle of physics that shorter wavelengths will be more easily scattered (ie less distance) than longer wavelengths.

Read more re Tyndall, Rayleigh, mie etc: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyndall_effect

Happening right now as you read this.

"Yes sir/madam, these lights have 1 lux at 1500 metres plus, enough light to read a newspaper!" Familiar?

The embarrassing truth re 1 LUX claims.

How much light is '1 LUX' in reality? You were perhaps told it is enough to read a newspaper? How many LUX is actually the accepted standard for reading a newspaper? Let's go to a reputable source. such as the www.electrical-engineering portal.com. What are the accepted standards? Remember you were told 1 LUX!

  • OFFICE - 300 LUX



  • SALES AREA - 300 LUX

  • LIBRARY / READING ROOM - 300 to 500 LUX

Overstated by how much?

The claim is exaggerated by a factor of 50 to 300 times. FYRLYT believes this is unacceptable. You are being misled with a construct and benefit that is simply not true or relevant. Where this sits with consumer law is concerning and at the very least a lawyers junket. Think about it. If you bought a car with a claimed power output, towing capacity or fuel economy of 'X' and it was say even just 50% of what was claimed? How would you feel about that brand or experts credibility?

The sucker punch of reality. It get's worse...

Consider this scenario.

  • It is night time. You go to a straight 2km / 1 mile stretch of road.

  • You drop your friend at the end of the road with a candle and a box of matches. (Remember the diagram at the top of this article?) They light the candle, walk away 1 metre and they are now illuminated by approximately 1 LUX.

  • You now drive back to the claimed distance of say 1650 metres a brand has claimed for a pair of their lights.

  • Now turn on your lights. What do you really think you are going to see? Even in the brightest sunlight do you really believe you could even see your friend at 1.65km? However there you are fixated staring down the road, having been told that 1 candle at 1.65km is somehow magical.

If safety is your priority? Go beyond the white daylight hype.

It is never been easier or cheaper to design a LED or hybrid light with huge output and perceived brightness. You have a LED CRI of typically 70 or less (no clip on filter can fix that btw) FYRLYT has 100 CRI. Your LED has increased glare from the TYNDALL effect with its short wavelength and you probably have the BIG ISSUE of foreground and midground glare. Newbies or you mates maybe impressed but for real touring and long term use they are far from ideal. Think about it. With all that blinding close proximity white light in the most important part of your field of view at 100km/h, what effect is it having on your pupils and fatigue? What relevance does seeing a road sign or road markers at 2km really have? It is actually distracting you from what is important! For some who were convinced to spend big money this is a bitter pill to even acknowledge.

Oh the irony.