Lamps and headlights are important components. But you also need a perfect windshield for good visibility. A complete unrestricted view of the road.
Of course we’re happy if Osram engineers have managed once again to get another few percent of light out of a halogen or xenon lamp. And of course it’s pleasing if modern lighting technology such as glare-free high beam is introduced more and more into small vehicle classes. But the best light won’t help if the driver can’t see enough. Here the windscreen plays a crucial role.Older tinted ones in particular take away a lot of light. Up to 15 percent may then be missing when driving at night. Tinted glasses, even if only slightly so, don’t improve matters.
That’s even more obvious on roads full of tunnels and by day if drivers are wearing self-tinting glasses. But in this case the thing is that tinted windows are indeed helpful. They largely block out ultraviolet (UV) light which controls the tinting process.
A number of car manufacturers are now offering windshields which reduce UV light and their counterpart, infrared thermal radiation, but are not tinted. A windshield like that is the first choice when it comes to perfect visibility. Unfortunately you have to pay extra in most cases.
The price for the glass also plays an unpleasant role once the windshield is a few years old. By this time, the surface of any windshield will be damaged – sometimes more, sometimes less. There will be tiny craters, for instance, only measuring tenths of a millimeter, resulting from the impact of grains of sand and grit. Even they can create annoying reflections at night and in rain. Scratches resulting from scraping ice or damaged windscreen wipers are even more problematic. They impair visibility not only at night but also for oncoming lights and low sun. At some stage it will need to be replaced, which is often triggered by the advisory information provided at the annual inspection. On the other hand, testers will often tell you there and then that you can easily do something yourself to bring a little more clarity into your driving. Such as cleaning the accumulated grime from the inside of the windshield. After that, you’ll notice that the road will look a whole lot brighter.