Bothered by headlight glare and thinking of getting tinted windows? You'll want to watch this first

Marketplace tested whether tinted vehicle windows and bright headlights are making our roads more dangerous by affecting driver visibility. Not all tints are legal, and some drivers said they're knowingly breaking the law to deal with headlight glare. Our experts test those headlights, and find a simple fix.

Marketplace test found misaligned headlights may be part of the problem, but there’s a fix

Marketplace tested whether tinted vehicle windows and bright headlights are making our roads more dangerous by affecting driver visibility. (Stephanie Matteis/CBC)

At Marketplace, we get a lot of viewer mail, but comments about tinted windows have been flooding our inbox lately. 

They're a tricky subject. The laws vary across the country, and experts say that tints can disrupt visibility and lead to dangerous driving, especially at night when many accidents happen. 

The only uniform law regarding tinted windows across all provinces is that drivers must be able to see out the front window. Laws covering other aspects of tints vary among the provinces.

In Ottawa, where police say they issued 566 tickets last year for tinted windows that were too dark or on the windshield, officers want more consistent laws. Sgt. Mark Gatien would like to see Quebec's rules, which say tints must let in at least 70 per cent of light, become standard across the country.

Some drivers told Marketplace they got tinted windows to reduce headlight glare they found blinding from other vehicles. 

The U.S.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tested headlights in new cars right off the assembly line, and found around 50 per cent are misaligned and could be causing glare. Regular wear and tear can also cause misalignment.

Experts showed Marketplace how those misaligned headlights are often aiming directly in the eyes of passing drivers, rather than shining toward the road. They also showed us how to get those headlights fixed.

To see how drivers fared when we took them to a track to put their tinted windows to the test, and learn why headlight glare seems to be getting worse, watch our full investigation:

Bright Headlights and Tinted Windows: How Safe Are You On The Road?

1 year ago
Duration 22:31
We test different window tints to see how they could affect a driver’s visibility. We also look at bright headlight glare, why it bothers you and what you can do to fix it.
  • Watch full episodes of Marketplace on CBC Gem, the CBC's streaming service.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?