BETHESDA, MD - With fewer daylight hours in the fall and winter, it's important to make sure your fleet vehicles can be seen by others and driver visibility is not compromised. Fall Car Care Month in October is also National Headlight Safety Month, the perfect time for a safety inspection of vehicle lights and wipers, according to the Car Care Council.

"As the days get shorter, your vehicle's lighting system becomes more important to the safety of you and your passengers," said Rich White, executive director of Car Care Council. "From the driver's seat you may not notice a light that isn't working, so be sure to inspect your car's lights at every oil change. At the same time, inspect and replace wiper blades so you can see clearly when wet weather hits."

Lights and wipers play a major role in safe driving. The wiper system keeps excessive water, snow and dirt from building up on the windshield, maintaining clear visibility. The lighting system provides nighttime visibility, signals and alerts other drivers, and supplies light for viewing instruments and the vehicle's interior.  

Lights require periodic inspection and replacement. Here are some safety tips you can pass along to your fleet drivers as a friendly reminder:

  • Keep headlights, tail lights and signal lights clean. External dirt and debris can dim operational lights from being seen by others.
  • Make sure headlights are properly aimed. Misaimed headlights blind other drivers and reduce your ability to see the road.  
  • Don't overdrive your headlights. You should be able to stop inside the illuminated area. Otherwise, you are creating a blind crash area in front of your vehicle.
  • If there is any doubt about whether your headlights should be on, turn them on. Lights not only help you see better in early twilight, they also make it easier for other drivers to see you.  

Many factors can accelerate the replacement interval of wipers, including operating conditions (winter conditions are tough on wiper blades), frequency of use, material and type of wipers and sunny weather. In fact, wiper blades can deteriorate faster and need more frequent replacement in desert states.

Some states have laws that require the headlights to be on with the wipers. If a driver detects any problem with a car's lights or wipers, these parts need to be checked out at once.