Daytime running lights are at the front of a vehicle that automatically turn on when the car is started. The purpose of the lights is to improve the visibility of vehicles, thereby reducing traffic collisions at all times throughout the day. In Canada and Ontario, there are laws governing cars on the road, and even though drivers are responsible for obeying these laws, not everybody is aware of them.
With that in mind, we’re going to talk about daytime running lights and whether or not you’re allowed to drive without them.
The (slightly confusing) laws about daytime running lights in Ontario
The Motor Vehicle Safety Act is a series of regulations that apply to vehicles that are manufactured within or imported into Canada, and it applies to Canadian drivers in every province and territory.
The one caveat here is that the Act doesn’t apply to vehicles manufactured or imported prior to 1989. In other words, if your vehicle was made more recently than 1989, then it must have daytime running lights, by law. However, each province and territory has the authority to regulate how drivers use the roads, and that includes thing such as:
- Licensing and registration
- Vehicle safety
- Traffic signals
- Speed limits
- Right-of-way rules
Where it gets confusing is that the Ontario Highway Traffic Act doesn’t explicitly say that drivers have to use daytime running lights. Therefore, while your vehicle probably has to be equipped with these lights in Canada, it’s not necessarily illegal to drive without them in Ontario.
That being said, daytime running lights have been proven to reduce collisions at a statistical level, so it’s best for you, other drivers, your vehicle, pedestrians, and your car insurance premiums to make sure these lights are in good working order (and that you turn them on).
The shortfalls of daytime running lights and how to improve safety
One of the only problems with daytime running lights is that they don’t necessarily illuminate tail lights, and this can lead to visibility problems. Because visibility is a common contributor to many collisions, increasing the visibility of your vehicle could reduce the chances that you’ll be in a collision.
If your daytime running lights don’t include rear illumination, you can rectify the problem by turning on your headlights, which will activate your tail lights every time you get in the car, regardless of the time of day.
Even though it’s not technically illegal to drive without your daytime running lights on in Ontario, your vehicle likely has to have them according to national laws, and it’s in your best interest to make sure they’re working.
Not only do they reduce collisions, but there might be provisions in your auto insurance policy mandating their use, so the best course of action is to always drive with your daytime running lights on. Play it smart!