Rain Sensing Wipers

Today, rain-sensing windshield wiper technology is based on the principle of total internal reflection where an infrared light is beamed at a 45-degree angle into the windshield from the interior of the vehicle.

Whether or not the windshield is wet is based on how much light is returned to the sensor. If less light is returned, then the windshield wipers automatically switch on and adjust speed accordingly.

A Brief History of Rain Sensing Wipers

While automatic rain sensing windshield wiper controls may seem to be a recent phenomenon, the technology has been around for decades.

The Cadillac Motor Car Division of General Motors (GM) was actually the first to experiment with water-sensitive technology in 1958 when they devised a switch that would trigger various electric motors to close convertible tops and raise windows in the case of rain. However, it wasn’t until 1996 that Cadillac equipped certain vehicles with an automatic rain sensor.

Benefits of Rain Sensing Wipers

There are numerous benefits to having rain-sensing windshield wipers. Some of these benefits are listed below.

#1 - Automatically Adjusts Speed

As we all know, rain isn’t the only form of precipitation that can affect our driving visibility. Having rain-sensing wipers may be beneficial because the technology allows the sensors to detect rain, sleet, snow or road spray as it falls on your windshield. Then, depending on how heavy or frequent the precipitation is, the sensors will automatically run your wipers at just the right speed.

#2 - Less Distractions

With rain-sensing windshield wipers, you no longer have to worry about constantly adjusting or readjusting the speed of your windshield wipers as road conditions change. Where a standard windshield wiper system requires constant attention by the driver to keep the windshield clear, automatic windshield wipers take care of everything for you, leaving you free to focus on your driving.

#3 - Automatic On/Off Technology

When using rain-sensing windshield wipers drivers don’t have to worry about switching their windshield wipers on or off. During dry periods, when the windshield is clear, the wipers completely stop. If other vehicles splash or spray water or debris on the windshield, the rain-sensing system automatically intervenes by starting the wipers to keep visibility unobstructed.

How do rain sensing wipers increase driver safety?

Most traffic collisions are caused by driver distractions. Having automatic windshield wiper technology allows the driver to activate the windshield wipers once, and then forget about them. It is worth noting that in certain vehicles/situations, the automatic windshield wipers must be re-activated if the vehicle has been turned off and re-started.

Do I need automatic windshield wipers?

Rain-sensing wipers may be offered as standard equipment or as an inexpensive factory option on many new cars, light trucks and SUVs. There are also many systems offered by aftermarket suppliers. Best of all, automatic windshield wipers are easy to install, with just a single optical component; and the technology can easily be adapted to any vehicle with electric wipers. 

Because they increase driving safety while reducing driver distraction and workload, rain-sensing wipers are a worthwhile asset to any vehicle.

*Hands-free windshield wiper control is available for most handicap accessible vehicles.

For more information about rain sensing wipers or any of other mobility products, contact Van Products below.

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(919) 238-4597

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