Over the weekend, I was exiting onto Preston Avenue from Circle Drive into Stonebridge. If you know the area, you know you will approach a ‘T’ intersection, or three-way stop, before turning right onto Gordon Road or left onto Hartley Road.
Rules of the road state that the first motorist to arrive at the intersection has the right to proceed ahead of those that arrive after. But on this particular occasion, I arrived at nearly the same time as another motorist. What now?
As I bet many motorists do, sometimes unknowingly, I attempted to make eye contact and establish some sort of communication with the other motorist. However, this was prohibited by the tint applied to their front side windows. This made it decidedly difficult to determine which of us should proceed first so as to avoid a collision.
This is just one example of why window tint is dangerous and illegal in the province of Saskatchewan. A violation of the Vehicle Equipment Regulations (VER), it carries a $115 or $150 fine, depending if your vehicle weighs more or less than 11,000 kg.
There is a common misconception that window tint is applied by manufacturers in the factory assembly of the vehicle. In actuality, no manufacturer in the world applies tint to their vehicles. The reason for this is because it alters the way the glass is designed to react in the event of a collision. As the vehicle leaves the factory, windows are designed to break apart upon contact to reduce impact. By applying a tint, your window has been altered and now has qualities similar to that of a solid wall and could stop you at a force that causes you more harm if in a collision.
Dark windows can also be an obstruction for nighttime driving by severely hindering a driver’s ability to see pedestrians and road signage. Driving in the dark with tinted windows has been likened to driving at night while wearing sunglasses.
Pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and other drivers rely on the ability to see each other, oftentimes making eye contact when sharing the road. Whether it is to indicate right of way, waving someone into traffic or to let a pedestrian know the vehicle is stopping and it’s safe to cross, eye contact can be as effective as turn signals in the right situation.
Don’t risk a collision. If you’re walking and you know you have the right away, do not disregard your personal safety to declare that right – let the vehicle pass. If you’re a fellow motorist like I was this weekend, do not take it for granted that they see you – the headache and consequences of a collision aren’t worth it if they don’t.