Visibility is crucial to staying safe on the road. It is important that you are not only able to see but that you are clearly seen as well. This all becomes even more important in the winter months when the days are shorter, and winter storms could severely limit visibility- increasing your risk of being in an auto accident.
Stay safe this winter by making sure that your vehicle can be seen, and that you are able to see. Here’s how.
Check All Your Vehicle’s Lights
The lights on your vehicle are standard wear and tear items that are not often discussed or thought about in terms of vehicle maintenance. However, the lighting system plays a vital role in vehicle safety. It is responsible for providing visibility in the nighttime, it allows other motorists to see you, it signals your intentions to other drivers, and allows you to see the important instruments on your dashboard. We recommend checking all your lights (internal, headlights, tail lights, flashers) once a month or at least at every oil change. If you notice any dimming, rapid blinking, or nonoperational lights, then they should be replaced. It is recommended that you change your headlights in pairs to help avoid one being dimmer than or dying before the other. Beyond changing any lights that may need it, consider the following advice as well.
- Keep your lights clean. Dirt and debris will dim your headlights, signal lights, and tail lights, making it more difficult for other vehicles to see you at night and/or in inclement winter weather. Before you get in your car each morning, or whenever you fill up your gas tank, take a little stroll around your vehicle and make sure that the lights are clean. If they aren’t, it won’t take very long to wipe them down.
- Ensure your headlights are aimed properly. Properly aimed headlights will make sure you are seeing what you need to see. It will also prevent you from creating blind spots for other drivers if they are aimed too high or too low. Park in front of a wall and turn on your headlights. Both sides should hit the same place on the wall. If they do not, then they need adjusting. You can bring your vehicle into Meridian Automotive and we will help straighten things out for you.
- Don’t out-drive your headlights. You should be able to stop your vehicle completely within the lit area. If you cannot, then you have created what the Car Care Council calls a “blind crash area” in the front of your car.
- When in doubt, turn on your lights. There are some situations in which it may not be entirely clear if you should have your lights on or not (like at certain points in the dusk and dawn). If you are unsure, play it safe and turn them on.
Check Your Windshield and Windshield Wipers
If you want to make sure you can see the roads -and any hazards that may be on them- you are going to have to inspect your windshield and windshield wipers. Before you drive your car, make sure the windshield and all other windows are clear of snow, ice, or other debris. You should also make sure there are no cracks in your windshield. A cracked windshield may obstruct your vision and cause excessive glaring.
It is always a little more difficult to drive at night, driving at night in a snowstorm or rainstorm is even more difficult. For this reason, you will want to not only make sure your windshield is clean and un-smudged but that your windshield wipers are in good condition. You may want to consider replacing your wiper blades in the winter with a kind that is a little more durable for winter storm conditions. You will also want to make sure you have plenty of wiper fluid. Make sure it is the kind suitable for colder temperatures. Also, consider keeping some extra in your vehicle’s winter emergency kit.
This winter, keep your vehicle’s lights maintained properly, and check on your wiper blades from time to time to allow for a safer drive by keeping the roads and yourself visible.
If you need help preparing your vehicle for any winter road conditions or to just schedule routine maintenance, schedule an appointment with the automotive repair experts at Meridian Automotive. Call us today (208) 297-5573 or schedule an appointment online.