Driving defensively is the best way for motorists to avoid accidents and protect themselves and their passengers from the risks of the road. But the importance of defensive driving is magnified when driving in hazardous conditions, especially when drivers’ vision is potentially compromised.

Driving when visibility is poor can test the skills of even the most seasoned and careful motorists. Though even novice drivers know to be especially cautious when driving in heavy rain, extreme weather is not the only thing that can make roadways hazardous for motorists and their passengers.

Highway construction that produces debris, poorly lit roadways and driving during certain times of the day when everyone seems to be in a rush can all compromise drivers’ vision. As a result, it’s imperative that motorists take steps to protect their vision when driving in hazardous or even potentially hazardous conditions.

* Replace old or ineffective wiper blades. Maintaining wiper blades is an easy preventative measure drivers can employ to protect their vision, yet many motorists are unaware of just how frequently their vehicle wiper blades need to be replaced. Wiper blades should be changed every 90-120 days, as the blades can easily grow brittle and ineffective over time.

Depending on how frequently they are used, wiper blades can wear out rather quickly, especially on older vehicles with pitting on the windshield. Wiper blades are relatively inexpensive to replace, and can make a world of difference when driving in hazardous conditions.

* Don’t forget to maintain your windshield. A windshield can be a motorist’s best friend or his worst enemy when driving in hazardous conditions, but savvy drivers know there is no excuse for the latter.

Windshield clarity is especially important when driving in hazardous conditions, and windshields that have been treated with a repellant are significantly safer than those that have not.

“Driving in wet weather is inherently dangerous, and driving risks increase considerably with the inability to see clearly through the windshield,” said Dennis Samfilippo, general manager of Philips Automotive.

A one-time treatment just a few times per year keeps windshields clean and visibility at a maximum. The Philips Windshield Treatment Kit is a do-it-yourself kit that can make windshield glass easier to clean for up to six months after application and can be used by anyone, from veteran auto enthusiasts to novice do-it-yourselfers.

In just a few minutes, drivers can dramatically improve their vision thanks to the kit’s unique, long-lasting hydrophobic technology designed specifically to coat windshield glass and make it easier to remove items that may obstruct a driver’s vision, including ice, dirt and even bugs.

Drivers can even take advantage of a new instructional YouTube video titled “Windshield Treatment Kit Video,” which shows users the exact steps they need to take to help improve their field of vision in difficult driving conditions. The video can be found at www.philipsautolighting.com/windshieldkit.

* Check windshield washer fluid. Windshield washer fluid is one of those things drivers typically only notice when it isn’t there. Routinely inspect windshield washers to ensure they’re working properly, and top off windshield washer fluid so you know it will be there when you need it.

* Clean interior glass and mirrors. It’s easy to overlook interior glass and mirrors when cleaning a car, but a dirty vehicle interior can be as dangerous as it can be unsightly. While coffee-stained cup holders or spilled snacks under vehicle seats are largely cosmetic concerns, dirty interior glass and mirrors can significantly compromise a driver’s vision.

When cleaning the interior of their vehicle, drivers should remove any film that has built up on interior glass and mirrors. Such buildup, which is often thicker in smokers’ vehicles, can reduce vision and create a hazy reflection from the sun, putting drivers and their passengers at risk.

More information is available at www.philips.com/automotive.

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