Is it Illegal to Drive Without Daytime Running Lights?

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.

This act states that every car sold in Canada must be equipped with automatic and non-switchable daytime running lights.

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:

  1. Licensing and registration
  2. Vehicle safety
  3. Traffic signals
  4. Speed limits
  5. 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 You Can Further 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!

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.

This act states that every car sold in Canada must be equipped with automatic and non-switchable daytime running lights.

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:

  1. Licensing and registration
  2. Vehicle safety
  3. Traffic signals
  4. Speed limits
  5. 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 You Can Further 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!

Seriously, what else can you do in 3 minutes?

Boil half an egg?

You might like these posts, too.

Do parking tickets affect insurance rates?

Do parking tickets affect insurance rates?

Few things can ruin your day as quickly as returning to your car after a night out and seeing a parking ticket tucked under your windshield wiper. Your first thoughts might be anger, confusion or angst before settling into a state of acceptance. At that point your...

read more
Cannabis and driving in Canada: what you should know

Cannabis and driving in Canada: what you should know

Cannabis is now legal in Canada, and the nation seems unable to find those scores of aunts and uncles just looking for something to help with sleep. But there are still rules we all need to follow on the road when cannabis is involved, just as with responsible...

read more
The hidden costs of buying a new car

The hidden costs of buying a new car

Buying a new car is one of the biggest financial decisions you can make in your lifetime. As a future driver, you’ll want nothing short of perfection and the very best for what your money can buy, naturally—but there are some hidden costs to buying a new car that...

read more

How are we doing?

How are we doing?