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Car Accidents and Windshield Wipers

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. National_Postal_Museum

commerce-acts-books-477966-mWhat’s true for the post office is true for other drivers – cars, trucks and motorcycles. Getting around the North Shore on its highways (Route 93, Route 1, Route 128) or its byways in and around Lynn, Reading, Wakefield, Saugus, Lynnfield or wherever your home town is, means traveling in all sorts of conditions. Getting to and from work, after work socializing, heading to the Garden for a Bruins or Celtics game – wet or snowy weather doesn’t prevent us from our appointed rounds. Getting to the destination safely when visibility is affected by lousy weather may depend on windshield visibility. Visibility is a challenge when it is snowing and from the salt and spray after a storm. Well maintained and clean windshield wipers can help keep the glass clear of snow and ice and help your visibility in snowy conditions. It can prevent a car accident.

Replacing your windshield wiper blades regularly will help keep your windshield clear.  According to JiffyLube, “over time, rubber elements in your windshield wiper blades break down due to oxidation and damage from the sun, becoming stiff and brittle. They also wear out from rubbing back and forth across the glass surface. Eventually, worn windshield wipers leave streaks and blurry spots, affecting your ability to see the road ahead”.  You don’t want to be caught in a winter storm or have impaired vision due to road spray from ineffective windshield wipers.  According to RainX, you should replace your windshield wipers every 6 months to a year or whenever you notice a difference is visibility.  RainX suggests changing your windshield wipers on Groundhog Day as a helpful way to remember to do so.  It also suggests inspecting your wiper blades as part of routine maintenance.

When inspecting wiper blades, look for the following:

  • Broken frame – detachment of frame arms at joints or connection points.
  • Metal corrosion – especially at joints and claws.
  • Visible cracks, tears, and missing pieces in the rubber squeegee’s edge.
  • Flex rubber squeegee back and forth to see if it is still flexible. Aged squeegees will have difficulty conforming to the shape of your windshield and create streaks.
  • Check squeegee wiping edge for rounded edges which can prevent the wiper blade from making strong contact with the windshield and reduces wipe quality.
  • Tug to ensure wiper blade has been securely installed on the wiper arm.
  • Check that squeegee is secure in the wiper frame.

When evaluating your windshield wipers and the quality of your visibility, you should consider the following:

Common Wiper Problems

  • Streaking occurs when the rubber squeegee dries, hardens and cracks. It can also be caused by tree sap, road tar and other foreign substances collected on either the glass or the blade.
  • Skipping occurs when the blade develops a curvature from lack of use (e.g. left in the ‘parked position’ for an extended length of time).
  • Wearing occurs with extensive use and is when the rubber edges are rounded instead of squared.
  • Splitting is caused when the sun’s ultraviolet rays penetrate the rubber squeegee, causing it to breakdown and separate from the frame.
  • Bent Refill Vertebra and Bent Frames cause inconsistent contact with the glass surface, creating streaking or skipping.

Also, take care to refill your windshield washer fluid to make sure you don’t run out when you need it most. The accumulation of salt on your windshield can make visibility difficult.  Windshield wipers can be crucial to safe driving in the wintertime as well as in any inclement weather.  Here are tips for extending the lifetime of your windshield wipers:

  • Clean your windshield every time you fill your gas tank.
  • Gently wipe the rubber squeegee with a damp paper towel to remove any loose dirt or oil.
  • Never use your windshield wipers to de-ice your windshield. Instead, either use an ice scraper or use your defroster to melt snow and ice.
  • Pull your wiper blades away from the windshield during winter months to prevent ice build up on the rubber squeegee and to prevent them from sticking to the windshield.

Properly working windshield wipers are extremely important to visibility and safety and can help prevent accidents.