Are Automatic Windshield Wipers Worth It?

Alexandra Maloney
· 3 min read
When you’re driving in rainy or snowy conditions, windshield wipers quickly become one of the most important
parts of your car
. But, have you ever wondered about the history of windshield wipers? Or, have you ever thought about the different kinds of windshield wipers and which are best for your car?
If your answer to both of these questions—and more
questions about windshield wipers
—is a resounding no, don’t worry, you’re probably in the majority! But, your windshield wipers are something you should think about every now and again to ensure you’re equipped to drive in all conditions. Luckily, we have the basics on this topic right here. 
While automatic windshield wipers aren’t a necessity, they’ll help you drive safer in rainy conditions.

The evolution of windshield wipers

According to
NPR
, the windshield wiper was first invented by Mary Anderson, after she took a trip to New York City during the winter and noticed her streetcar driver had to continuously get out to wipe snow off the windshield. 
Anderson was awarded a patent for a window cleaning device on June 18, 1903. While many car manufacturers at first refused to adopt windshield wipers into their models, about 50 years later Anderson saw her invention become widespread. In 2011, she was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame. 
After Anderson’s initial invention, the windshield wipers began to evolve. Over time, many inventors worked to tweak the windshield wiper by making it electric, adding blades, and automating the technology, until we arrived at the windshield wipers we see on our roads today.
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Types of windshield wipers

In most cars today, there’s two different kinds of windshield wipers. With one type, when you notice it’s raining or snowing, you flip a switch or click a button in your car to activate your wipers. You likely also have a function that allows you to control the speed and intensity of the wipers.
Then, there are automatic windshield wipers.
GoMechanic
describes these kinds of wipers as smart wipers that automatically sense when there’s rain, turn on, and adjust their speed based on the intensity of the rain, as needed. When the rain stops, the wipers automatically turn off. 

Are automatic windshield wipers worth it?

While automatic windshield wipers aren’t a necessity, they do improve your driving experience.
Popular Mechanics
suggest thinking of automatic wipers as the same as other automatic operation features likely already in your car—like door locks, headlights, and shifting gears.
Plus, as
Consumer Reports
points out, automatic windshield wipers can be enhanced by attaching them to other features. For example, some newer cars smartly connect wiper operation with automatic headlights, to give drivers a safer experience when in treacherous conditions.  
In a nutshell, if you’re investing in a
new car
, it’s definitely worth asking about automatic windshield wipers because they’ll likely make your car
more effective
and safer in the rain and snow.

Tips for driving in the rain

Automatic windshield wipers can make driving in the rain a little bit safer, but investing in them isn’t the only thing you can do to help when you face treacherous driving conditions. Here are a few tips for driving safely in the rain:
  • Drive slowly.
  • Use your brakes with caution.
  • Beware of hydroplaning, which is what occurs when excess water sits on top of the road and tires lose traction, according to
    State Farm
    .  
  • Utilize headlights or flashers when necessary.
  • Give ample space between yourself and other cars.

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