We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

Turn headlights, taillights on while travelling

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, November 9th 2018

It’s important to have both headlights and taillights on while driving, regardless of the time of day. People are not only more aware of those vehicles, but also think the illuminated vehicles are closer to them, which helps to reduce crash rates, Steve Wallace writes.


The No. 1 item bugging most readers is the lack of proper headlight and taillight use on motor vehicles.

Many drivers are concerned with the number of vehicles on the road that have burned-out vehicle headlights.
With the Nov. 4 time change when clocks fell back an hour, there is a definite visibility issue late in the day, when vehicles are not totally illuminated.

A large majority of motor vehicles automatically light up upon ignition.

Only those vehicles manufactured before 1990 for the Canadian market need to have their headlights turned on manually.
There are several differences in the regulatory regimes of countries that manufacture passenger vehicles.
Several European car makers now ensure the entire car lights up, both headlights and taillights.

They have been doing this for about five years.

They have continued to do so when exporting their vehicles to our marketplace.
It is easy to spot those vehicles manufactured in the U.S., but not meant for sale in Canada.
They do not have the headlights illuminated, even though these vehicles were manufactured well after the Canadian legislation became law.

Why is it so important to have both headlights and taillights turned on while travelling, regardless of the time of day?

When this is done, people are not only more aware of the vehicles around them, but also think the illuminated vehicles are closer to them.
The brighter the headlight, the closer the approaching vehicle appears.
This does not only apply to the vehicle headlights, but also to the taillights.
There is a reduced chance of a rear-end crash, when drivers turn on their taillights.
The same principle applies: The observed vehicle seems closer to those following.

When drivers look at approaching vehicles, they seldom attach the same importance to those vehicles without headlights.
In many cases, they simply ignore them, in favour of the easy-to-see headlights approaching.
A speaker at a convention I attended several years age made the point of telling participants about the lower crash rate in the 1970s of vehicles that operated with headlights turned on.

This was at a time when few vehicles were operated in this way.

There are many in the driving school profession who believe vehicles that are not illuminated in our modern everyday driving conditions, have a higher crash rate.
Older cars do not give a warning signal to the operator when a headlight is not working.
It is proper to flash your high beams to let the other driver know there is something wrong with their vehicle lighting system.
This applies not only to the headlights, but also the taillights.

You are doing the other driver a favour in this situation.

Better you do the warning than the police do so, with the distinct possibility of a ticket being issued.
Most vehicles only have the daytime running lights visible on a daily drive.
The taillights must be manually turned to the on position, whether by being full-on or by using the parking light setting.

Rear-end collisions can be reduced by making sure the taillights are always turned on.
Drivers do not travel as close, when taillights are illuminated.
This is the time of year when every driver should check the vehicle lighting system.
A burned-out headlight on a motor vehicle might cause others to mistake it for a motorcycle.
It is very frustrating to follow a vehicle in the rain, when there are no taillights visible.

Fog can also be a problem.
Many drivers do not realize the risk of not being more visible on the road.

Turn your lights on, ALL THE TIME!




© 2023 Joan Wallace Driving School. All Rights Reserved.