Hydrophobic windshield treatments can help you see better while driving at night

Improved night vision

If you are like me, the worst time drive is at night in the pouring rain.

It's like driving into a wet sack of coal. When another vehicle approaches, the glare of its headlights can be blinding. Hydrophobic windshield treatments can make it easier for a driver to see well in wet weather.

A study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute concluded these windshield treatments can result in significantly improved driver visual performance.

In the study, researchers found treated glass increased drivers' visual acuity by as much as 34% and cut response time to a test target from four seconds to three seconds. A single second represents a significant margin of safety because it translates to about 17 meters at 60 km/h.

There are a number of brands of these coatings on the market, with a range of prices. They are applied to clean auto glass and repel water, causing it to bead and stream off making it easier for wipers to keep the windshield clear and for you to see.

The treatment also helps repel snow and sleet and makes it easier to scrape ice off. Applying it to LED lights can assist in keeping them clean as well.

I have tried two types. The first was a bottle costing between $5 and $10 and the second was a kit for $80.

A single treatment seemed to last me about a month and there were many re-applications in the bottle. The kit was not as generous.

The only difficulty I found was in cleaning the windshield well before applying it. The kit came with special cleaning materials and instructions for their use.

The bottle simply advised to apply to a clean windshield and the manufacturer did not answer my inquiry about proper pre-treatment cleaning.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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