How to Mitigate Glare and the “Cave Effect” in Your Parking Garage


By Mike Riebling

Great lighting is essential whether you have a single deck parking structure or a five-story garage.

Think about the discomfort you experience from sun glare — it can also occur indoors due to excessive bright light. And the loss of visibility for drivers can pose an even greater risk.

While glare cannot be eliminated without turning off the lights, LED luminaires are excellent for reducing it. Unlike traditional HID luminaires, these fixtures project most of their light in the lower 30 to 60-degree zone, significantly below the “glare zone”. They also feature precision optics that are more directional, concentrating the main beam on the driving surface to provide high-performance illumination – helping keep distracting light out of drivers’ eyes.

Great lighting is also essential for combatting the “cave effect”. If your parking garage’s ceiling is inadequately lit or not lit at all, it can create a feeling as if the parking structure is closing in on you – or a “limitless ceiling” when you cannot see the ceiling. Both can be quite unsettling for customers.

LED lighting can help by casting the right amount of uplight, vertically above 90 degrees, to illuminate your ceiling, so you are able to see your surroundings completely. It even increases the feeling of openness in your space to create a more welcoming environment for your customers.

An LED lighting upgrade offers the right illumination to mitigate pesky glare and the “cave effect” and ensure a well-lit parking environment (see previous blog ‘Illuminating Ideas: The Right Parking Garage Lighting Can Enhance Customer’s Visual Acuity and Comfort’).

Mike Riebling is Product Manager Garage & Canopy, Floodlights and Sports for Gardco by Signify. He can be reached at