Windshield wipers might not seem that important, especially in comparison to other auto parts like seat belts, brakes, and engines. But without properly functioning wipers, it can be hard to operate your vehicle safely. Understanding the basics of windshield wiper maintenance can help you protect yourself from accidents and related legal actions.
Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Windshield Wipers
The exact amount of time in between windshield wiper replacements varies depending on your vehicle. Some manufacturers like Ford recommend changing wipers every 12 months while manufacturers like Nissan suggest every six months. Generally, you should make sure to always follow manufacturer guidelines. Even if your windshield wipers don’t get a lot of use, UV rays and temperature changes still cause them to degrade over time.
In addition to following manufacturer guidelines, it can be helpful to keep an eye out for these signs of damaged windshield wiper blades:
- Streaky windows can indicate wear and tear that’s keeping your wiper blade from coming into contact with the window.
- Blades that skip, chatter, or shudder as they wipe tend to be a sign that your blades have been damaged by extreme temperatures.
- High-pitched squeaking noises during windshield wiper operation can indicate that the rubber on your blades is so damaged it’s scraping against the glass.
- Crumbling rubber or blades that have long strings of rubber hanging off them need replacement.
- Blade frames that are bent or otherwise appear to be damaged may not work properly.
- A windshield that looks smeary and blurry during rain can be a sign your wipers aren’t doing their job anymore.
Is It Dangerous to Skip Windshield Wiper Replacements?
If your windshield wiper blades just seem a little outdated, it can be tempting to procrastinate on windshield wiper replacements. However, even if replacing your wipers seems inconvenient, it’s something you need to do. When you have older blades, they can leave debris on your windshield which makes it much harder to focus on the road ahead of you. Worn-out windshield wipers can also smear grime, leave water on the glass, or stick up and obstruct the driver’s view.
Unfortunately, not being able to see clearly is a major problem. According to the Federal Highway Administration, impaired visibility during rain is one of the major causes of weather-related car crashes. Drivers cannot see when cars stop in front of them, and they might not notice obstructions on the road until it’s too late. Without the ability to keep an eye on the road, crashes are far more likely to develop.
Skipping Windshield Wiper Maintenance Can Lead to Lawsuits
Ultimately, replacing your windshield wipers regularly is part of being a responsible driver. Everyone who drives on public roads has a duty to follow basic road safety rules and avoid harming their fellow drivers. If someone fails to replace damaged or outdated windshield wiper blades, it’s a form of negligence just like speeding or texting while driving. This means that if an accident happens, the neglectful driver might be at fault.
After car accidents in West Virginia, insurers will ask the question of whether or not a driver’s negligence harmed others. If your crash occurred during rainy conditions, you’ll need to consider whether the at-fault driver’s windshield wipers were old and possibility caused impaired visibility, leading to the crash.
If someone gets in an accident because they failed to maintain their car, they might be liable for any resulting damages. A driver who doesn’t replace their windshield wiper blades might end up needing to pay a car accident victim for medical bills, lost wages, mental trauma, and other injuries.
If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, it’s essential to speak to a car accident lawyer right away. We can explain your rights, help you collect necessary evidence, and assist you with filing a suit in a timely manner. To get a consultation about your case, contact our legal team at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC to schedule an appointment.