I Can See Clearly Now My Tinting’s Gone, I Can See All Obstacles in My Way
Common sense tells us that we should keep the windows of our cars free of obstructions when driving. It is obviously a good practice to have a clear view of our surroundings every time we make the decision to operate a car.
While most of us would never drive with a sign, poster, or other similar object hanging from our rear view mirror or placed on our windshield, it may surprise some to know that their tinted windows can run afoul of the law.
As of January 1, 2017, Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act prohibits any new car built from having any tinting on their windshield. The Highway Traffic Act also limits the amount of tinting that can be applied to the interior windows to the right and left of a driver. The affected windows cannot be tinted to more than 30% darkness. Any darker tinting is now considered to substantially obscure the interior of the motor vehicle when viewed from outside.
The new laws regarding tinted windows are being implemented to improve the safety of everyone using our roads and sidewalks.
One way that a tinted windshield can affect the safety of the car is in how it can change the way it will shatter upon impact. Windshields are designed to shatter into small pieces in the event of a crash. However, tinting a windshield with a film can cause it to break into larger chunks which can become more dangerous in an accident.
Equally important is that darker tinting makes it more difficult for police officers, other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to clearly see the driver of a vehicle. Tinted windows make it difficult for police officers to ensure that drivers are not texting or being otherwise distracted. Tinted windows make it difficult for other drivers to react to a driver they cannot see or acknowledge. Tinted windows also make it more difficult for pedestrians and cyclists to know whether a driver has seen them before they cross an oncoming vehicle’s path or ride up alongside a door that may be about to open.
As great as our cars may look with the windows darkly tinted it should not come at the expense of safety. While the new laws relating to tinting are not being applied retroactively it will hopefully persuade some of us who are driving around with tinting that substantially obscures the interior of our cars to find the time to lighten up or remove our tinting altogether.
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