Your Biggest Car Safety Risk Is Right in Front of Your Face


When you think about things that can go wrong and cause an accident while driving your car, your mind likely goes to other out-of-control vehicles, unexpected road hazards or severe failure of your vehicle, such as a blown or loose tire or brake failure. Statistically, though, one of the biggest risks to your safety while driving is the state of your windshield wipers, a top concern of those like Patrick James Trico.

The World Through Your Car Window

Most if not all of your decisions while driving are based upon your having an unobstructed view of the road. Best driving practices encourage scanning ahead 12-15 seconds. You should also be checking mirrors, blind spots and behind you, and many cars these days have a rear windshield wiper to give you a less obstructed view behind you. Your ability to react in a timely manner to those out-of-control vehicles and unexpected road hazards depends upon your identifying a dangerous situation with enough time to move your car out of the path of danger before an accident occurs. To have this time, you need to ensure your windshield wipers are kept in good repair and your windshield wiper fluid is kept filled.

Adverse Weather

Adverse weather is not always predictable. You can be driving on a perfectly sunny day and encounter a strong rainstorm. Most windshields are very sloped in order to improve the aerodynamics of your car. This slope, however, requires that the tension in your windshield wipers is kept at optimal levels and that your blades are soft and pliable in order to increase their surface contact and squeegee effect on the windshield itself. Without highly functioning wipers, your view of the environment outside your car can be severely degraded. Optimal wiper function is especially important when snowy conditions cause other vehicles to kick up mud and dirt onto your windshield or at night when rain streaks are made more pronounced by the glare from other vehicles’ headlights.

Damage to Your WindShield

When windshield wipers are in ill repair, the chances of them damaging your windshield itself are increased. Metal stripping that is exposed by the deterioration of the windshield wiper rubber can scrape across your windshield and cause deep scratches. These scratches reflect sunlight and the light of other vehicles’ headlights in much the same way as rain streaks, reducing your view of the environment outside your car. Further, these scratches are crevices that can hold rainwater that even windshield wiper blades in good repair cannot reach, putting you at further risk during adverse weather.

Keeping your windshield wipers in good repair is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to mitigate your risk of an accident. Many manufacturers of wiper blades suggest that you replace your blades every 6-12 months. Wiper blades that are subjected to extreme weather conditions will deteriorate more quickly. If you are unsure whether or not your wiper blades need to be replaced, ask your service technician to inspect them during other car services such as oil, fluid or tire changes.