Friday, December 07, 2007

one mystery solved

Here in the greater Phoenix (AZ) area, all sorts of chaos results on the roads whenever it rains. You'd think that no one had ever driven in rain before. If everyone had been born here, that might be true, but since a huge percentage of the Phoenix population is transplanted from places where it rains a lot, that can't be the explanation.

Nor can it be explained by everyone who has moved here from rainier locales suddenly forgetting everything they ever learned about driving in the rain. Nope.

However, I think I have found at least one explanation: decrepit windshield wipers. Seeing is integral to driving, after all.

Last week, on the way home from Border's with the kids, the driver's side wiper blade on the van came partially detached and was flapping around uselessly the last few miles home. Fortunately it wasn't raining very hard. This evening, I was driving DH's car and the wipers are positively horrible. They drag and squeak and generally leave the windshield worse off than it was.

The thing is, you can easily go four, even six, months here without ever using those wipers. And all that time, they're out there, baking in the sun, the rubber taking on the properties of a hockey puck. The wiper blades become either useless or a road hazard, if not both. And you never notice, because it's 100 degrees and sunny for 65 days in a row, and for the next 42 days it's somewhere between 106 and 115, and even if it were to rain on those days, the water would evaporate into the air before it hit your car, so you wouldn't need the wipers anyway. Then you have about another 12-15 weeks with the temperature flirting with 100, and then, maybe you'll get some rain. The last time you needed windshield wipers was April, and here it is November or December.

People who live in places with regular precipitation don't need to be reminded, but I sure do: check your wiper blades, once a month or so. You'll be happy the next time it rains and you can see. Now if only I could somehow remember to actually do it.

1 comment:

Curtis said...

Which brings up a story. I drove around for like three weeks with some sort of weird little intermittent flapping sound, and I could not figure out what was causing it, until one day, I saw it -- my windshield wiper had frayed, and the bottom part of the rubber had come loose, and when the wind hit it just right, it would flap against the windshield. Weird.