As we get further into Fall, daylight becomes less and less. Drivers often forget to turn on headlights at the mandated one half-hour before sunset and one half-hour after sunrise, per the Highway Traffic Act (HTA). Many vehicles have automatic headlights, however "phantom vehicles" continue to roam the streets of Ottawa.
In fact, since drivers aren’t used to the decreased visibility, traffic deaths are much more common after the sun goes down than during the daytime—both for drivers and pedestrians.
According to CBC News, "Transport Canada receives numerous complaints about drivers who fail to turn on lights".
Whether you drive for your job or commute home from work in the evening, it is important to remember the following safety tips:
- Test your headlights, and turn them on at least one half-hour before sunset and one half-hour after sunrise so other drivers can see you easily. To find the exact time of the sunrise or sunset, you can simply Google "sunrise Ottawa" or "sunset Ottawa".
- Do not look directly at oncoming headlights. Look toward the right side of the road, following the white line with your eyes.
- Increase your following distance by four or five seconds to give yourself more response time.
If you have vehicle trouble, pull off the road as far to the right as possible. Set up reflector triangles near your vehicle and up to 300 feet behind it. Turn on your flashers and your dome light, and call for assistance.