High beams benefit drivers on dark roads at night and at other times when it is hard to see. However, improper high beam use could be dangerous.
In Ontario, there are laws to define proper use of high beams to help avoid hazards that could lead to a severe crash. However, what happens if a driver fails to follow the law and a serious crash results? Can you seek compensation for your damages?
If you were injured in a collision due to improper high beam use, we may be able to help. Contact our firm to learn more about your legal options. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss what happened. If our firm represents you, there are no upfront fees to pay and no costs while we work on your case.
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Is it Illegal to Drive With My High Beams on in Ontario?
It is not illegal to drive with your high beams on in Ontario if used properly. However, using your high beams at the wrong time or in the wrong way could lead to a crash. Unfortunately, many drivers ignore the law or simply do not know how to use their high beams correctly.
According to Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, Section 168 (use of passing beam), drivers with multiple beam headlamps must use the lower passing beam whenever they are:
- Approaching within 150 metres of one or more oncoming vehicles
- 60 metres or closer of any vehicle they are following
Determining if You Are Too Close to Use High Beams
Some drivers may use their high beams all the time because they like the way it looks or think it makes driving safer. Other drivers may be unsure what 150 metres or 60 metres looks like. However, using common sense, you can use your high beams safely even if you are unsure of the distance.
- When you follow another vehicle, turn your high beams off.
- Dim your high beams when you see the headlights of oncoming traffic
- Lower your high beams when going up a hill
Improper High Beam Use is a Crash Risk
Improper high beam use creates hazards for drivers in oncoming vehicles and the drivers who improperly use them.
When Drivers Reduce Their Own Visibility
Drivers have less visibility when using high beams under the following conditions:
- Any other type of precipitation
The reason for this is that high beam lights bounce off precipitation, as well as fog or smoke, greatly impairing a driver’s vision. In this scenario, drivers are more likely to crash into other vehicles. Drivers may also miss other objects or hazards in the road.
Misuse of high beams may also cause drivers to misjudge:
- How much distance they need to brake – drivers in this situation may be unable to stop in time to avoid a crash.
- The speed and distance of oncoming traffic when turning, which could cause a serious crash and severe injuries.
How High Beams Create Crash Risks for Other Vehicles
Drivers who misuse their high beams are more likely cause harm to others. Affected drivers may be temporarily blinded, which could cause them to lose control of their vehicles. This can lead to collisions with other objects, vehicles, people or animals.
In addition to creating a higher crash risk, improper high beam use may lead to a road rage incident. Already fatigued, impatient or aggressive drivers may get annoyed more easily. Irritation can quickly escalate into more dangerous behaviour.
Is the Other Driver Liable if Improper High Beam Use Caused My Crash?
That depends. All drivers owe a duty of care to prevent harm to others. When driver negligence leads to a crash that directly causes injury and other losses, he or she may be liable for the damages. However, each case is different. For instance, if two drivers have a different version of what happened, it could be harder to prove negligence. This is why we recommend speaking with a qualified lawyer about your situation. Seeking legal help soon after your crash could greatly benefit you in this situation.
Contact Our Firm for Legal Help You Can Trust
If you were injured in a crash due to improper high beam use, we are here to help. Our traffic accident lawyers in Windsor have been helping car crash victims in Ontario for decades. During that time, we have recovered millions in compensation to aid them with their injuries and other losses.
Get started today by calling to schedule your free case review. There are no upfront cost or fees to hire our services or while we work on your case. You only pay us if we win your case and get compensation for you.
Learn more when you contact our firm today. 866-320-4770