Visibility is Key to Winter Driving Safety

The winter season presents drivers with many safety challenges and many are related to visibility. In addition to the increased danger of driving longer hours in the dark, snow and ice buildup, damaged windshields and aging headlights all pose winter driving safety concerns for vehicle owners.

When snow falls or sleet coats your car, it’s very important to clear the entire front and back windshields, all windows and the roof. It’s worth a few minutes of additional time to ensure you have the best possible visibility. It also helps you avoid accidents and the possible injury and liability that could result.

A cracked or chipped windshield reduces visibility, making driving especially dangerous in the low light and bad weather conditions common during winter. A damaged windshield also impacts vehicle safety in the event of an accident. The windshield is integral to proper deployment of the airbag, acting as a backstop to allow the airbag to cushion the impact on passengers.

It also supports the roof to help prevent collapse in the event of a rollover and it protects passengers from being ejected from the vehicle. It’s essential to have a reputable company tend to damaged windshields as soon as issues arise. AAA Ohio has partnered with Safelite AutoGlass to offer members savings on vehicle glass repair or replacement. Visit AAA.com/safelite for more information.

As part of your prewinter car care routine, be sure to assess the condition of your vehicle’s headlights. Modern vehicles have headlight lenses made of acrylic. Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet rays oxidize the plastic and turn it yellow, while chemicals and dirt form a thin opaque layer that further dims the beam. On top of that, flying debris from the road scratches and pits the lenses, adding to their cloudy appearance. Sometimes the headlight’s water-tight seal breaks and condensation forms inside the lens.

Besides detracting from your car’s appearance, yellowed, foggy-looking headlights can drastically reduce visibility and safety on the road. A 2018 AAA study found that vehicle lenses that are yellowed or cloudy may be producing less than 30% of the light output as compared to new headlamp lenses.

While AAA’s study showed the most effective remedy for cloudy, yellowed headlights is the replacement of the lenses, it also showed that restoration of deteriorated lenses can result in a major improvement in nighttime and winter driving safety.

Professional headlight restoration involves a process where the oxidized outer layer is removed and the lenses are polished and coated to restore their clarity. If your car’s headlights need attention, AAA Car Care Plus offers headlight restoration service. Call your nearest location for details.

Taking the steps necessary to maximize your visibility helps keep you, your passengers and surrounding drivers safer as you brave winter weather.

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