We’ve all experienced a time when we forgot to turn on our headlights while driving. Perhaps it was just starting to get dark, or you were driving in a well-lit urban area and you assumed your headlights were on. They’re pretty common oversights, but they highlight the importance of driver visibility on the road.
Visibility is a critical component of driver safety, and the significance of it is twofold:
- Your ability to clearly see and assess risks on the road
- Other drivers’ ability to see you while you’re driving
If either one of these is hindered, everyone on the road is at risk. Fortunately, there are a number of simple steps you can follow that will promote better driver visibility.
1. Repair or Replace Damaged Windshields
As maintenance vehicles apply grit to our roadways in winter, there’s a higher potential for cracked and chipped windshields. If the damage is significant enough, it can impair your ability to see clearly and react to hazards.
By repairing rock chips sooner than later, you’ll keep your windshield clear and possibly prevent the need for a more costly replacement later on.
2. Keep Your Vehicle Clear of Snow
Before you drive your vehicle, it’s a good idea to walk around it and check that your vehicle is clear of snow, ice and dirt. In particular, you want to pay attention to your:
- Other windows
- Turn indicators
You’ve probably seen social media posts of drivers who have cleared the tiniest patch of snow from their windshield before driving. This might seem comical, but it’s really quite unsafe.
Periodically, it doesn’t hurt to check the condition of your lights and:
- Replace dim or burnt-out bulbs (replace both lights in a set)
- Restore or replace broken or badly worn light covers
- Ensure signal lights are performing as expected
3. Install Quality Wiper Blades
As wiper blades deteriorate, their ability to effectively remove water, snow and grime from your windshield diminishes. This is due to the blade material making improper contact with the glass, which can result in distracting chatter and squeaks, as well as smears that reduce driver visibility.
This is a great post to help you know when it’s time: When Should You Replace Your Wiper Blades?
4. Use Winter-rated Washer Fluid
In most parts of Canada, you can expect to encounter winter-like conditions for about half of the year. There’s no sense in switching back and forth between regular and winter washer fluid. If you do, you risk not being able to clear your windshield when the temperatures drop. Or worse yet, your washer fluid could freeze and expand in the reservoir, causing it to crack.
5. Don’t Rely on Your Daytime Driving Lights
Many drivers assume that when it’s daytime, there’s no need to drive with their headlights on. That might hold true on a bright, sunny day, but when weather conditions like snow, fog and rain start to affect driver visibility, it affects your ability to be seen by other drivers, particularly from behind because your taillights won’t be on.
Once you’re as visible as can be and you’ve got a clear view of the road, make sure your tires are ready for the trip. Visit your local Kal Tire for free tire inflation and inspections!