Measuring the effect of the rainfall on the windshield in terms of visual performance

Accid Anal Prev. 2014 Feb;63:83-8. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2013.10.008. Epub 2013 Nov 4.


Driving through rain results in reduced visual performance, and car designers have proposed countermeasures in order to reduce the impact of rain on driving performance. In this paper, we propose a methodology dedicated to the quantitative estimation of the loss of visual performance due to the falling rain. We have considered the rain falling on the windshield as the main factor which reduces visual performance in driving. A laboratory experiment was conducted with 40 participants. The reduction of visual performance through rain was considered with respect to two driving tasks: the detection of an object on the road (contrast threshold) and reading a road sign. This experiment was conducted in a laboratory under controlled artificial rain. Two levels of rain intensity were compared, as well as two wiper conditions (new and worn), while the reference condition was without rain. The reference driving situation was night driving. Effects of both the rain level and the wipers characteristics were found, which validates the proposed methodology for the quantitative estimation of rain countermeasures in terms of visual performance.

Keywords: Driving; Methodology; Rain; Visual performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Automobiles
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Rain*
  • Vision Tests
  • Visual Perception*