Enhancing Safety While Driving in Rain is Easier Than You Think

​Safe driving can only be possible if a driver gets clear visibility while looking out of a vehicle through the windscreen and windows. Keeping these glass surfaces reasonably clean both inside and outside will be sufficient to provide good visibility in dry conditions. Unfortunately, we cannot control the weather and visibility can quickly deteriorate in wet conditions. Improving visibility when driving in the rain will appreciably enhance safety, and achieving this is easier than you think.

In this guide we will share what ​water repellent coatings for automotive windscreens and windows can do for you, why you need it and how to get a professional coating on your windscreen, even at the comfort of your home. We will be using Sensha Window Crystal, a professional product that will go beyond regular consumer level products and exceed your expectations. 

If you have driven at night in rainy and wet conditions, you would know that visibility can be adversely affected by the state of the glass on a vehicle's windscreen and windows, even if you think they are pretty clean. So what makes these glass surfaces clear or otherwise with the presence of water? It all has to do with wettability - or the tendency of water to stick on the glass surface. However it is not as simple as just that. Let me explain...

Figure 1: Water on Glass - Hydrophilic example

Figure 2: Water on Brass - Hydrophobic example

Picture credits: By Guro Aspenes, SINTEF Petroleum Research [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Naturally, glass is hydrophilic, i.e. water has a tendency to stick to surfaces and make it wet (Figure 1). This is not necessarily a bad thing for visibility, in fact some glass coatings are designed to be super-hydrophilic. A clean and evenly hydrophilic glass surface can provide reasonable visibility in light rain as water spreads across the entire surface and does not distort light. However, in heavy rain and wind it doesn't do well since water on the hydrophilic glass will be constantly moving and visibility can be adversely distorted and affected.

What makes visibility through glass worse is that over time, wettability altering contaminants such as dirt, salt and grime, get accumulated on glass surfaces, consequently resulting in patchy wettability, where glass surfaces are unevenly hydrophilic. In this state, you'll find that even small amounts of water can adversely distort your view and wipers do not work very well in scooping water off your windscreen.

Figure 3: Good Visibility is Crucial for Safe Driving

Our solution to visibility problems above revolves around deep cleaning​ and evenly coating the glass surfaces with a durable, super hydrophobic material (or water repelling, where adhesion between water and the glass surface is low - Figure 2) to provide crystal clear visibility even in heavy downpours and wind (Figure 3). In this coated state, droplets of water have difficulty clinging on to glass surfaces, instantly forming spherical beads that are easily wiped or blown off (sometimes even bouncing off) your windscreen as you drive. Also, due to low adhesion, a hydrophobic surface keeps itself clean, reducing the accumulation of contaminants that may otherwise alter wettability and affect visibility as mentioned above.

In the following sections we will walk you through the simple steps in restoring and enhancing the visibility of your vehicle's windscreen and windows using Sensha Wax Off and our revolutionary coating Sensha Window Crystal. All it takes is about 30 minutes of your time to coat all exterior glass surfaces on your car for results that last for months! Furthermore, you can easily do this at home, just like I did. 

Figure 4: Original State - Dry Condition

Figure 5: Original State - Wet Condition

Let's start by looking at an uncoated windscreen. Note that this windscreen is by no means unreasonably neglected and yet can have very poor visibility in wet conditions. In dry conditions the windscreen looks fine (Figure 4) but when wet (Figure 5) you can see how the water droplets are sticking to the windscreen in a very patchy manner, causing poor visibility.

Figure 6: Close Up of the Wet Windscreen

Figure 7: Washing the Windscreen

​The close up above (Figure 6) shows irregular droplets of water on the wet windscreen, indicating an unevenly hydrophilic surface. Our first step is to wash the windscreen with a quality car wash like Sensha Body Clean. Surfactants in the car wash reduce surface tension, aiding the removal of limited amounts of contaminants and temporarily making the entire windscreen hydrophilic (Figure 7). However, this is usually insufficient to fully remove all contaminants. After rinsing, the washing seem to have helped to restore some clarity (Figure 8), however when wiped dry tiny droplets of water are still left sticking to the surface of the glass, scattering light and affecting visibility (Figure 9) until they dry completely (and slowly) by evaporation. 

Figure 8: After Regular Washing + close up

Figure 9: Poor Visibility as Small Droplets remain after Wiping Dry + close up

Our next step is to remove as much contamination as possible with minimal effort with Sensha Wax Off, which is much easier than polishing the glass surface outright. Note that this step is optional, but highly recommended. After applying Sensha Wax Off using a simple microfiber cloth, some improvements can be observed (Figure 10) since a significant amount of contamination as been removed. This also prepares the glass surface for excellent bonding with Sensha Window Crystal, which will enhance the coating's durability.

Figure 10: Some Improvement after applying Sensha Wax Off

Figure 11: Sensha Wax Off - Just Spray On and Wipe

We are now ready to apply Sensha Window Crystal, our professional super-hydrophobic water repellent coating. You'll need the felt sponge applicator, some regular tissues and a microfiber cloth (Figure 12). Spray or drop directly on the glass and apply it evenly with the supplied felt sponge applicator, which is specially designed to help provide an even application and reduce product wastage, working it in using both horizontal and vertical movements. A light haze will develop (Figure 13), leave it alone for 10-15 minutes to allow Sensha Window Crystal to bond with the glass. It is worth noting that this is all the curing time that is required for Sensha Window Crystal, which is immensely shorter than some of the competitors that require curing up to 12 hours (i.e. keeping the car dry after application).

Figure 12: Sensha Window Crystal - the Professional Coating for Glass

Figure 13: Sensha Window Crystal Application in Progress, allow 10-15 mins to bond

After 10-15 minutes, proceed to remove the excess product by wiping down using regular tissues, folded neatly to facilitate the process. Usually this step is sufficient to give you a streak-free and smooth finish (Figure 14). If not, dampen the microfiber cloth for a final wipe down. Now go ahead and test it by spraying water on the glass, we're sure you'll be impressed (Figure 15 & 16) - see water beading into uniform spheres and rolling off effortlessly, leaving most of your windscreen dry and enhancing visibility.

Figure 14: Sensha Window Crystal - a Streak-free Finish

Figure 15: Sensha Window Crystal - Super Performance

Figure 16: Sensha Window Crystal - Before and After

Figure 17: Sensha Window Crystal - Enhances Water Wiping

Finally try wiping your windscreen dry. You'll notice that water gets drawn into your towel easily, leaving the glass surface almost completely dry every time (Figure 17). Unlike other inferior products, Sensha Window Crystal is easier to apply, wiper friendly, will never streak and lasts for months! Now you can be assured that you'll have the best visibility for a safer drive, regardless of the weather. Don't forget to also apply Sensha Window Crystal to your vehicle's windows and even wing mirrors for all-round visibility and clarity!

Why Sensha Window Crystal?

​Now you might be wondering why should you buy Sensha Window Crystal over the competition? The answer: Performance, value and support.

Performance: ​Unlike consumer level water repellents, Sensha Window Crystal's made-in-Japan formula is fluorine based and contains no silicone. This makes it easier to apply and does not degrade over time, making it durable for many months (our testing lasted up to 9 months). Furthermore, you can be assured of its quality as this is not a one hit wonder product - Sensha is the leading name for automotive coatings in Japan.

Value: ​A small 30ml bottle of Sensha Window Crystal is sufficient to coat all the exterior glass surfaces on a vehicle up to 3 times over. Considering that each coating lasts for more than 6 to 9 months, storm-after-storm and wash-after-wash, just one bottle will give more than a full year of crystal clear visibility on one car, which means great value for money!

​Support: Finally, our product comes with the support of the manufacturer, auto detailers and car enthusiasts with hands-on experience and vast technical knowledge, to help you bring the best out of every product.

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