As the days get shorter, lights and wipers play a major role in safe driving, as the chance of an accident increases if you can’t see or be seen, according to the non-profit Car Care Council.
“With fewer daylight hours in fall and winter, it’s important to make sure your vehicle’s lights and wipers are working properly so your visibility is not compromised and you can be seen by others,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “From the driver’s seat, you may not notice a light that isn’t working, so inspect all of your car’s lights and replace those that are out. Also, inspect and replace wiper blades so you can see clearly when wet weather hits.”
Lights are normal wear items that require periodic inspection and replacement. The lighting system provides nighttime visibility; signals and alerts other drivers; and supplies light for viewing instruments and the vehicle’s interior. In addition to replacing dimming, rapidly blinking and non-functioning lights, the following tips can help keep you safe.
- Keep headlights, tail lights and signal lights clean. External dirt and debris can dim operational lights from being seen by others.
- Make sure that your headlights are properly aimed. Misaimed headlights blind other drivers and reduce your ability to see the road.
- If there is any doubt on whether or not your headlights should be on, turn them on. Lights not only help you see better in early twilight, they also make it easier for other drivers to see you.
- Don’t overdrive your headlights; you should be able to stop inside the illuminated area, otherwise you are creating a blind crash area in front of your vehicle.
The wiper system keeps excessive water, snow and dirt from building up on the windshield, maintaining clear visibility. Many factors can accelerate the replacement interval of wipers, including operating conditions (winter conditions are tough on wiper blades), frequency of use, material and type of wipers and sunny weather. In fact, wiper blades can deteriorate faster and need more frequent replacement in desert states. Don’t forget to check the rear window wiper blade too!
“Some states have laws that require the headlights to be on with the wipers,” said White. “Keeping your vehicle’s lights properly cared for and replacing wiper blades periodically will help ensure a safer ride, keeping the road ahead well-lit and giving you a clear view.”
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.