The importance of maintaining a vehicle cannot be understated. In addition to protecting their financial investments, drivers who properly maintain their vehicles are also protecting themselves and their passengers.
Many elements of vehicle maintenance become second nature to drivers once they have a few months of driving under their belts. Oil changes, routine checkups and periodic vehicle inspections can keep cars running smoothly and safely on the road. But few drivers remember to maintain their headlights, a potentially dangerous oversight that can compromise the safety of drivers and their fellow motorists.
Old or poorly maintained headlights can be hazardous for a variety of reasons. When coupled with inclement weather, outdated or dirty headlights can make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians and other vehicles. In addition, drivers who struggle to see at night may find their visibility further compromised by older headlights that don't provide the light they need to navigate their vehicles safely once the sun has gone down.
Because headlights can have such a dramatic impact on driver safety, it's important that motorists take the following steps to maintain their headlamps.
· Recognize when bulbs start to dim. As headlight bulbs age, their light output is reduced by the effects of humidity, electrical resistance, filament fatigue, and general usage. The result is dim bulbs that make it difficult for motorists young and old to see when driving at twilight and at night, when a driver's visual acuity is naturally reduced by 70 percent. Drivers should pay attention to how their headlights are performing, replacing any bulbs that are no longer providing adequate light.
· Don't just replace but upgrade your headlight bulbs. Bulbs that have started to dim need to be replaced, but auto enthusiasts or maintenance-savvy drivers know they can upgrade their bulbs when replacing them. Industry experts recommend replacing headlamp bulbs every two years, and replacing them in pairs to make sure the vehicle's lighting is equally balanced. But rather than sticking with the bulbs provided by the car maker, look for a bulb that makes it easier to see at night and during hazardous conditions. The Philips Upgrade Headlights put more light on the road, helping to make up for poor weather, dimly lit roads, aging headlights, and even the loss of night vision many drivers experience as they age. Capable of providing up to 100 percent more light than the standard halogen bulbs found on the majority of vehicles today, Upgrade Headlights create a better beam pattern that is dramatically longer than the standard bulbs, vastly improving driver vision and safety.
· Buy the bulbs that match your driving habits. Some drivers spend a significant amount of time behind the wheel while others use their cars or trucks only to run errands or make short trips. When replacing bulbs that have dimmed, be sure to choose a bulb that fits your driving habits. Philips makes a headlight bulb for every type of driver, be it the daily commuter, the soccer mom or those drivers who only rarely take to the highway. Philips even makes a special headlamp for motorcycles that creates a unique orange reflection that helps distinguish the motorcycle from other vehicles on the road.
Numerous studies have shown that roughly one-third of auto accidents occur at night, when driver visibility is most compromised. So in addition to maintaining their headlights, drivers should take the following steps to improve their visibility.
· Keep wiper blades fresh. Wiper blades should be changed every three months, as they can become brittle over time and, depending on their frequency of use, can wear out, especially on older vehicles with pitting on the windshield. When inspecting the wiper blades, remember to inspect your windshield washer as well, making sure that the washers are operating effectively and that the washer fluid basin has been refilled.
· Avoid hanging items that compromise visibility. Many drivers like to hang trinkets, fuzzy dice or personal photos from their vehicles' rearview mirrors. Avoid hanging such items, which can prove distracting and restrict your view of the road.
· Clean the interior glass and mirrors. Dirty interior glass and mirrors make it difficult for drivers to see fellow motorists, so make removing any film buildup on such surfaces part of your routine vehicle maintenance.