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Car Care Tip: Check lights, wipers when turning back the clock

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Car Care Tip: Vehicle safety items make perfect holiday gifts
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Car Care Tip: Vehicle safety items make perfect holiday gifts

Last Sunday, Daylight Saving Time officially ended, and we gained an hour -- who doesn't need more time right?

Yes, the days are getting shorter and you're probably waking up in darkness, and making your commute in it as well.

Now more than ever, it's time to check your vehicle's lights and wipers, as the chance of an accident increases if you can't see or be seen, the Car Care Council says.

"Turning back the clocks means fewer hours of daylight, so it's even more important that your vehicle's lights and wipers are working properly so you can be seen by others and your visibility is not compromised," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "From the driver's seat, you may not notice a light that isn't working, so inspect all of your car's lights and replace those that are out. Also, inspect and replace wiper blades so you can see clearly when wet weather hits."

Lights are normal-wear items that require periodic inspection and replacement. The lighting system provides nighttime visibility; signals and alerts other drivers, and supplies light for viewing instruments and the vehicle's interior. In addition to replacing dimming, rapidly blinking and non-functioning lights, the following tips can help keep you safe:

- 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 but also make it easier for other drivers to see you.

- Keep headlights, tail lights and signal lights clean. External dirt and debris can dim operational lights from being seen by others.

- Make sure your 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.

The wiper system keeps excessive water, snow and dirt from building up on the windshield, maintaining clear visibility. 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. Wiper blades can deteriorate faster and need more frequent replacement in desert states.

For more, visit www.carcare.org.

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