Ambient interior lighting – a feature once reserved for the top-dollar models in many automakers' ranges – is now becoming standard kit on a host of new vehicles. Ford, for example, offers ambient lighting on nearly its entire range of products, as do higher-end manufacturers like Audi and BMW. We've always found this to be a cool feature, if only as a nifty party trick to show your friends, but new studies show that ambient lighting actually enhances the perceived quality of interior materials and even makes drivers feel safer.

In a study conducted by the Lighting Research and Technology journal, drivers were put in a car simulator and were asked to give feedback on their overall spacial perception within the car. Researchers found that each driver's visual senses were improved with the use of interior light – drivers said that the design and finish appeared more attractive, controls were easier to use and that overall, they felt safer. Interestingly, increasing the brightness of the ambient lighting had a negative effect on the test group – instances of distracting glare were reported.

It's no secret that ambient lighting can improve the overall attractiveness of a vehicle's interior, but with the added benefits of improved spacial sense and a subconscious feeling of heightened safety, it's no wonder that more and more new cars are being fitted with extra LEDs inside the cabin. And to think, Meatloaf had it right all this time.

[Sources: Wired, YouTube]

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