Windshield wipers are legally required in the state of Texas and are designed to provide clear visibility in rainy weather. These safety devices are also used in conjunction with windshield washer systems to wash away dirt that can accumulate over time. Maintaining your vehicle’s windshield wipers in tip-top condition can help you enjoy an unobstructed view of the road ahead. This can prevent accidents caused by impaired visibility and can keep you and your passengers safer on Texas streets and highways. If you are involved in an accident, contacting a Houston car wreck attorney can ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are rightfully entitled under the law. The Role of Windshield Wipers The first windshield wiper system is believed to have been patented by Mary Anderson in 1903. This manually operated system allowed drivers to operate a lever that moved a brush or wiper across the windshield to clear away water. Modern windshield wipers typically consist of three parts:
- A motor that powers the wiper system
- An arm that connects the motor to the blade
- A wiper blade that clears away water and debris from the surface of the windshield
Each of these elements plays a key role in ensuring visibility for drivers and should be repaired or replaced at the first sign of trouble. Risks of Impaired Visibility According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TDoT), impaired visibility was a factor in 49 fatality accidents and more than 3,800 crashes in 2014. Nearly two-thirds of these incidents occurred in urban areas of Texas. Properly functioning windshield wipers can provide added protection against these potentially deadly crashes and can allow you to react more quickly to traffic conditions as they arise. Legally Required Safety Equipment Texas law requires motorists to maintain windshield wipers in good working condition on the vehicles they operate. Cars and trucks without working windshield wipers cannot pass inspection in the state of Texas. Additionally, if the wipers do not make proper contact with the windshield due to cracks in the glass, the vehicle may not pass inspection. Driving without working wipers can also be grounds for a traffic citation, especially if the wiper blades no longer make contact with your windshield due to cracks or dents in the glass surface. Signs of Wear and Tear Over time, wiper blades deteriorate and lose their effectiveness. A number of factors can affect this process:
- Excessive heat and sun damage can break down the rubber in some wiper blades.
- Chips and cracks in the windshield can cause structural damage over time.
- Cold temperatures can cause blades to become brittle and to break down more quickly.
- Dirt and debris can also react chemically with wiper blades to cause added damage.
Most automotive experts recommend replacing wiper blades every six to 12 months to ensure the best possible performance. Some common warning signs of impending blade failure include the following:
- Streaks and reduced visibility in certain areas during operation
- Visible discoloration or damage to blades
- Squeaks or rattling when in use
- Lack of contact between blades and windshield
Replacing wiper blades regularly can help to prevent costly damage to your windshield and can reduce your chances of visibility-related accidents on the road. Maintaining your vehicle properly can provide added protection against breakdowns and accidents. If you are involved in a collision, however, working with a qualified Houston personal injury lawyer can provide you with added support in pursuing your claims against the parties responsible. Your Houston car crash lawyer will work with you to determine the extent of your damages and to negotiate a fair settlement with the attorneys and insurance adjusters on the other side, allowing you to enjoy added peace of mind during this difficult process. By evening the playing field in this way, you can achieve the best possible outcomes for your case and your family.