Yesterday, I got to drive to-and-from Taichung City and Chungli City. It’s around a 120 kilometer (75 mile) drive, each way, and involves around an hour of highway driving and a half hour of city driving. Before leaving, I made sure to treat my windows with a generic product identical to the very famous Rain-X.
Ever since I got behind a wheel, I know I loved to drive. And ever since the first time I used Rain-X, I’ve used it for everything I can. I put it on every glass surface in my car. I put it on my motorcycle helmets. I put it on my sunglasses. The stuff is amazing.
Too many Taiwanese, however, don’t seem to be aware of this product. I have been in cars where I could literally not see outside the car with any more distinction than to say “it’s a dark blur” or “it’s a light blur.” Driving in a car with a Taiwanese person when it’s raining is sort of like being Han Solo in the first 20 minutes of Return of the Jedi. You can’t see, it’s all a little disconcerting, and you’re pretty sure you’re going to die at some point soon.
This is not a criticism of Taiwanese driving, though, I could criticize that as easily as anywhere in the world. I think the global community has become more and more self-involved, and when a population is as dense as you see in Asia, you start to see it exhibited in everything from cutting in line at 7-11 to stopping your cart in the middle of the aisle at Costco to having to force-merge into traffic because no one will let you in. And Taiwan isn’t even that bad: if you’re planning on even being a passenger in a car in Manila, you should update your Last Will and Testament.
But, no…this is not a criticism of Taiwanese driving. It’s a criticism of vehicle maintenance. Many people in Taiwan, for whatever reason, do not maintain their vehicles any better than most Americans maintain lawnmower. “If it works, it’s fine.” This is why every person who is reading this and lives in Taiwan is about to roll their eyes when I say, “Is it so hard to keep your scooter’s muffler’s heat-shield screwed on, so you don’t rattle down the road like Jed Clampett?” It’s seriously two screws. I don’t get it.
However, those are just annoyances. Other things – like not keeping your scooter’s drum brakes tightened – or your tires fresh – will lead to your eventual injury. Everyone has been in an accident in Taiwan, and while it’s not always your own fault, there are ways you can lessen the likelihood of getting smeared across the pavement. In the case of cars, there are ways you can avoid smearing people into the pavement. One of those ways is to use Rain-X, or other similar chemicals, to treat your windows.
Because, last night, I almost ran over two people while driving; they came out of nowhere, and my visibility was fantastic, because I use Rain-X. If I didn’t, I honestly don’t know if those people would still be walking around. Understanding that constant self-involvement that we all share, this is all a reality we must accept. I was focused on pulling into the gas station and getting gas and I didn’t even see the guy turn a corner and step right in front of me like I wasn’t even there. He had his agenda and I had mine. Both of us should have been more careful and aware. I, at least, knowing this to be the way things are, give myself an advantage by treating my windows with Rain-X, or a similar product.
For those who aren’t convinced, watch the following video I took during my drive back down from Chungli to Taichung, and see the way Rain-X can change your entire driving experience. Then, go to your local automobile parts store and say, “Give me that stuff! I want to be able to see out my windows when it rains!” The best part about it is that, if you use it consistently, you won’t have to use it anymore – your windows will be perfect for the life of your vehicle, if you use the product once a month, for two years. I use it on my helmet visors. I use it on my sunglasses. The stuff is amazing.
I am begging everyone in this beautiful country: stay safe by increasing your ability to see when it’s raining! Stay safe out there, Taiwan.
And, if you’re on a scooter…just do me a favor and tighten-up your muffler’s heat-shield, OK?
***IN HD*** http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWU0GCtlQns ***IN HD***
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