Q: Many cars drive at night with only daytime running lights. Approaching the car from behind, it’s a dark void, since taillights are also off.
I realized what’s happening after renting a Nissan Sentra recently. On starting, the dash glowed intensely bright. After dark, this may trick the driver into falsely believing their full lighting system is on. (Switching the lights on actually dims the dash.)
The daytime running lights do provide some forward lighting, just not as powerful as the main headlights. Maybe automakers should address this shortcoming in future.
A: Back in 1990, I drove a Ford LTD (work vehicle) with fully automatic lighting. The headlight switch worked as normal, or could be set to “autolamp” for headlights and taillights to activate automatically when dark. The lights turned off automatically when the ignition was off.
My dad briefly owned a 2001 Malibu, also with automatic lighting, so it does exist across all manufacturers.
Fully automatic lighting systems boost safety, because the lights come on at times most drivers wouldn’t bother with, such as when passing through a tunnel or underpass, or when it gets dark outside during the day due to an impending storm.
As you noted, many cars with daytime running lights require full headlights/taillights to be activated manually.
In any case, proper lighting is every driver’s responsibility. Section 62 HTA requires that vehicle headlights and taillights be activated from a half-hour before sunset to a half-hour after sunrise, or whenever it’s too dark to see clearly 150 metres ahead.
At night time or in darkness, driving a car or truck without two low-beam headlights and at least one taillight illuminated are violations. Daytime running lights are insufficient.
A ticket or warning from police is likely. This also applies if bulbs are blown.
Got a beef? Send it to Eric Lai at email@example.com. Include year, make, model and kilometres of autos cited, plus your name, address and telephone number. Personal replies cannot be handled due to volume
Columns Everything you need to know about purchasing, maintaining and driving your car.
Become a member
Register now to access all features including:
- Save and ask friends to review vehicles
- Exclusive rebates & offers from local dealers
- Premium content, reviews and tools
All for free!
Already a member?
Registration 2 of 2
Welcome to Wheels!
As a final step we've sent a confirmation to your email address as a security measure. Please click the link in the email to complete your registration.
Terms of services
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, TORONTO STAR IS PROVIDING THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES ON AN "AS IS" AND â€œAS AVAILABLEâ€ BASIS AND MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, IN ANY CONNECTION WITH THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEB SITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. TORONTO STAR DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE FUNCTION OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THEIR CONTENTS WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR FREE, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THE SERVERS THAT MAKE IT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS.
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE, SHALL TORONTO STAR BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OF USE, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF INCOME OR PROFIT, LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO PROPERTY, OR FOR ANY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY COMPENSATORY, INCIDENTAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES), EVEN IF TORONTO STAR HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR LOSSES, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEBSITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. IN NO EVENT SHALL TORONTO STARâ€™S TOTAL LIABILITY FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, AND CAUSES OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE, EXCEED THE AMOUNT PAID BY YOU FOR ACCESSING THIS SITE.X