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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis

Title: Heated Windshields or Wiper Blades Evaluation
Project Researcher: Paul Orth, SDDOT
Project Manager: Jon Becker
Research Period: -
Cost: $0.00

Problem Statement:The researcher evaluated Northland heated wiper blades, which at the time were the only ones available. He also identified several additional opportunities for improving the visibility and safety of snow plow operators.

The researcher found that in most cases and situations, the heated wiper blades are an improvement over unheated blades. The greatest improvement is evident when conditions are worst, such as when plowing slush.

Through interviews with snow plow operators and equipment vendors, the researcher found several items that would improve operator safety. In addition to heated windshield wipers, the researcher recommended the consideration of a heated mirror and power window on the passenger side of the truck, and defrost air dehydration or air conditioning in snow removal equipment. The panel felt that operators will definitely benefit from having these equipment items available when plowing snow.


Research Objectives:
1  To identify suitable heated windshield wiper blade systems for use in SDDOT snow plowing operations.
2  Evaluate their effectiveness in improving visibility compared to standard, unheated wiper blades.

Research Tasks:
1  Conduct a search, including truck and snowplow vendors, trade magazines, parts houses, etc., for potential heated wiper blades.
2  If more than one vendor is located, provide information to the technical panel for review and decision whether to test multiple types.
3  Based on technical panel's decision, purchase 12 sets of blades (one for each Area).
4  Establish a testing methodology including an evaluation form for operators to fill out at the end of each day for comparison of both heated and standard wipers. Evaluation criteria should include effectiveness, durability, specific problems encounter
5  Select operators and trucks with assistance from Region Coordinators and provide necessary instructions.
6  Distribute wiper blades to Region shops for installation in selected trucks.
7  Consult drivers periodically during evaluation period to verify proper testing procedures and identify specific problems.
8  Collect and analyze evaluation forms to evaluate the performance of heated wiper blades in comparison to standard unheated blades.
9  Prepare a final report, including findings, methods, conclusions, and recommendations.
10  Make an executive presentation to the SDDOT Research Review Board at the end of the project.

Documents Available:

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