Wiper blades: One of biggest benefits, least expensive
The single biggest factor in vehicle safety isn’t the latest technology, air bags, electronics or driver skill.
According to Dr. Philip Hessburg, chairman of the internationally recognized The Eye And The Auto symposium and president of the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, the single biggest factor in vehicle safety is the driver’s vision.
Information from safety experts like Leonard Evans supports Hessburg. Evans’ book Traffic Safety notes vision provides motorists over 90 per cent of the information used to drive.
“I can’t imagine anything being more important than the ability of the driver to see clearly through the windshield,” said Hessburg, noting reduced visibility is a factor in 42 per cent of all vehicle crashes and safety research reveals collision risk usually increases by 50 to 100 per cent during precipitation.
Much of the elevated risk during rainfall appears to be related to visibility, since collision rates quickly return to near normal after the rain has stopped, even if roads continue to be wet.
And snowfall has an even greater effect than rainfall on collision occurrence.
Ironically, one of the easiest ways to help driver’s vision is also one of the least expensive solutions: Checking and replacing worn wiper blades with new blades.
“The primary inputs for nearly all of your driving decisions are related to what you see,” said Hessburg. “Virtually everything comes to your brain through your eyes.”
Some examples of primary visual inputs include: Stopping at a stop sign or red light; turning, merging and changing lanes; slowing or stopping due to traffic and monitoring nearby vehicles; recognizing the presence of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcycles; lane markings, exit ramps, and road signs; traffic and road conditions.
Worn, torn or inefficient blades leave streaks, a film and an inconsistent view of the road that can limit vision or delay driver judgments.