Driving In the Rain? Wipers On, Lights On

Photo caption: Spring is a good time to check and change wiper blades, as winter weather is tough on rubber blades.

(NUI) - April showers may bring May flowers, but driving in the rain can bring a rash of accidents.

That's why legislators in almost 20 states have enacted regulations requiring motorists to turn on their headlights any time it rains. The aim is to make it easier for others to see you when visibility is poor.

Similar wipers-on, lights-on regulations are pending in a number of other states.

"It's a great law, because visibility is always reduced in the rain. Drivers with worn wiper blades have an even harder time seeing in wet conditions," said Lee Reighart, director of marketing for Cooper Automotive's ANCO wiper blade division. "Activating headlights in the rain makes for safer driving because other motorists can see you better. Obviously, the safest way to drive is with headlights on having wiper blades in good condition."

Studies have shown that as many as 25 percent of vehicles on the road have bad wipers.

Spring is the best time to check the blades, since winter weather is the worst on them. Continual freezing and thawing can damage the rubber blade, not to mention abrasive road salt and the regular beatings by car owners using ice scrapers. Wipers should be inspected every six months and replaced as needed.

The safety consideration of driving with headlights is nothing new. Motorcycles are required to have a headlight on, even in clear daylight. And a number of new cars and trucks are factory equipped with daytime running lights - lowbeam headlights that automatically come on when the vehicle is started, day or night.

States that have enacted the wipers on, lights on regulation range from Oregon to Connecticut, Florida to Minnesota. Soon this safety law will be in effect nationwide.

"People need to be aware of the regulations and get in the habit of turning on their headlights when it rains," Reighart said.

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