Quiz: Keep a clear view
Please remember that everything that is expected from you is outlined in the MTO Driver’s Handbook; section 1-4 covers the driver’s licence exams.
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7 Ways to Improve Visibility While Driving
One of the scariest things for a new driver is to have limited visibility while driving. Visibility problems can come from a number of sources, and while there are some you can’t control, such as the weather, there are others you must be responsible for. These seven improvements can maintain good visibility when you’re behind the wheel.
Replace or Upgrade Windshield Wipers
Wipers take wear and tear each time you use them to wipe precipitation off your windshield, so if they have torn it’s time to replace them. Torn wipers won’t clear your windshield properly and will result in poor visibility. Upgrading to wipers of higher quality or that are a better fit for your vehicle could also improve visibility. Even if your wipers aren’t torn or damaged, their pressure could be incorrect, which results in excess wiper noise and sections that don’t get cleared.
Check Headlight Bulbs
Your headlights are another area where you can drastically improve visibility. If they are dim or angled incorrectly, you will have a much smaller field of vision that isn’t as bright, which is a serious problem when you need improved visibility the most. If one of your bulbs is completely out replace it immediately, as you can get cited for it and it is not safe to drive the vehicle at night in that state. Headlight bulb replacement can be a DIY project, but if you cannot or don’t feel comfortable doing it, you can always have it done at your mechanic.
If your headlights are dim, it might not be the bulbs that are the problem – the exterior lenses might be dirty or dull. This tends to be a gradual process that happens over time, but will eventually get to the point where it can have a big impact on your visibility. If scrubbing them with soap and water doesn’t work, you can look into products that restore dull, discolored plastic on headlight lenses to make them bright again.
Make sure to keep your windshield clean. This is especially important in winter when road treatments tend to leave a lot of residue on vehicles. Ensure you always have enough windshield wiper fluid so you can keep the windshield clean while driving. Debris can also get stuck under your wipers and leave smears that can be difficult to see through, so keep them clean. The interior of your windshield gets dirty over time as well and can seriously impact visibility even if the exterior is clean, especially when your windows are fogged and there are smears.
Ensure Your Defrost Is Working Properly
The defrost is another key tool you have to maintain visibility, and if it isn’t working properly it can’t clear your windows when they fog. If your defrost has stopped working well or at all, take the vehicle to your mechanic so they can troubleshoot the problem and improve visibility by fixing it for you. It could be anything from low coolant levels to a blower motor that has stopped working.
Clear Off All Snow and Ice
Take the time to scrape off all snow and ice from your windows before driving the vehicle. It can be tempting to take the easy way out and only clear off a small spot to see through, but driving this way is incredibly dangerous. Instead, scrape off the side windows, the windshield, the mirrors, and the rear window entirely so you can see clearly around the entire car. If you don’t have a good ice scraper, be sure to invest in one.
Use Windshield Treatment Products
This option to improve visibility might not be widely known among new drivers but there are commercial products you can put on your windshield in advance that will repel water. These products work by coating the glass with a chemical formula which rolls water right off, so in some cases you might not even need to use your windshield wipers at all. The effect will fade over time so you will need to reapply when necessary.
Driving with limited visibility is dangerous for both you and others, so you should do what you can to achieve maximum visibility whenever you drive. Be on the lookout for issues as you drive, especially in poor conditions where the lack of visibility will be more obvious. Even some small changes can make you a much safer driver on the road.