Visibility is a major key to safe, defensive driving, but many people overlook it when caring for their cars. Maximizing visibility is essential even when driving in sunny conditions, but it can quickly become a matter of life and death when dealing with rain, fog, or snow. Fortunately, a few simple maintenance tasks can dramatically improve visibility.
Make a quick check of all of the interior and exterior lights on your car, from the headlights to the tiny tag lights. Replace any that don’t illuminate, blink rapidly, or are starting to dim. Check the aim of your headlights, and correct it if needed.
Check the level of windshield washer fluid and add more if needed. Check your wiper blades, including the rear, for any signs of cracking or wear. Turn them on and listen for chatter or snapping sounds that could mean they are getting ready to fail. If they cause streaks during rain, it is also time to replace them.
Blind spots are inevitable in any vehicle, but minimizing them with mirrors is crucial for safety. Make sure that vehicle mirrors are clean and properly positioned. Position each side mirror so that you can just barely see the edge of your vehicle, along with the road behind you. If you have a very large vehicle or regularly tow, consider adding extra side mirrors for better visibility. Clean all mirrors, including the rearview.
Most modern families are on the go, and the car often becomes a de facto office, homework station, and storage facility. It is easy for items to start blocking the windows without you even realizing how much visibility you are actually losing. Take the dry cleaning in the house, have your kids pull their stuffed toys out of the back windshield, and move the stacks of boxes out of the middle rear seat. You may be surprised just how much more visibility you gain with a few minutes of effort.
Backup cameras and parking sensors can be invaluable, especially for newer drivers and those driving large vehicles. A backup camera allows you to see the entire path behind you, even small objects that are below bumper height. Parking sensors provide audible guidance to help you get safely into even the tightest space.
When using your headlights, be careful not to overdrive them. Keep your speed low enough that you could make a sudden stop within the area that they illuminate. Otherwise, you could hit something in front of the headlight beams without ever realizing it was there.
Your own visibility is not the only factor you need to consider. It is also important to help other drivers see you. Turn on your headlights at dusk, as well as whenever you are using your windshield wipers. When driving in fog, use your low beams (never the high beams, which will reflect back into your eyes) as well as fog lights if you have them. Avoid using your emergency flashers when driving unless it is a true emergency. Many states have laws on the books forbidding the use of flashers in heavy rain and other non-emergency situations, as they can confuse other drivers.
If you are tired of getting the runaround and being treated like you haven’t got a clue, we invite you to try Colchin Automotive
instead. Give us a call at 303-431-5421 for all of your automotive needs!