Turn on your lights!

It's not often that I write about vehicles having too few lights illuminated. Too many, the wrong colour, using them in improper circumstances, yes, but everyone knows that they need to turn their lights on when it is dark or visibility is poor, right? Not so according to many e-mails sent to DriveSmartBC when daylight is in short supply.

Most people observe that daytime running lights usually only illuminate the front of the vehicle. A driver sees the light from their vehicle ahead of them as well as their dash lights and forget that there are no tail lights on behind. If you don't reach down and turn on the headlights yourself the rear of your vehicle will remain dark, putting you and others at risk.

The next most frequent suggestion is that manufacturers should make all of the lights come on to prevent this from happening. I think that this is happening as more and more newer vehicles have an automatic setting for the exterior lights. All lights are illuminated when a sensor detects insufficient light around the vehicle. It's no help to those of us who own older vehicles though.

If you don't have automatic lighting, remember that you must turn on your vehicle's lights between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise. If atmospheric conditions are unfavourable or light levels are low you must turn on the exterior lights until conditions improve. Proper maintenance and use of lights are critical to safe driving.


The author is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit drivesmartbc.ca.

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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