I once wondered why on my yearly car road safety test they check to see that my windshield wipers are not old and cracked (never mind that they don’t want to see them run…), but as the rains came I got it – a car with no / bad wipers is a menace to the people in it, rest of the traffic and even if no accident ensue the driver of that wiper-less car can’t and shouldn’t drive at the normal traffic speed. Seeing the road before you is really not overestimated.
Funny things the wipers – a moving and articulated part, fixed on the elements side of the car with a rubber and plastic part very prone to the weather fitted flimsily on the edge of the device. And so we get that the rubber blade has a fairly short life expectancy due to wear or even just being thrown clear off in a strong wipe. And yet unlike other perishable car parts (like tires or headlamps) we rarely carry an extra wiper arm or even a blade.
The internet is full of stories about driving in the rain and losing a wiper (check out Top-Gear’s Richard Hammond on the subject http://www.topgear.com/uk/richard-hammond/richard-hammond-on-windscreen-wipers-2013-7-1) and they are usually all about how with a bit of dumb luck people triumphed over their bad luck and made it home. They either put a temporary solution like the guys above and below –
Or just soldiered on in slow speed and bad visibility and let the beads run off. This solution may be OK for traffic free rainy roads but if you get some spray from a car in front of you or on the opposite direction – you will be in a pickle.
You may say that wipers are an obsolete solution and it is time to find a new and better one (no yearly maintenance, no wind drag and no hassle) such as air nozzles the spew high pressure air at the windshield and blow away water as they use today on some plains or treatments such as Rain-X and such. But actually I kind of like to have the ability to get what ever is on my windshield off – be it rain, spray, dead bugs or mud – you can’t beat that hands on, full contact action. And so even if I don’t change them often enough and I leave them out in the sun and frost, believe me when I say that I love my wipers, especially when I need them….