The application of hydrophobic what?!

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Universities are often at the forefront of important research and product innovation. Usually, the two go hand in hand.

Last week, I wrote about how Ohio State University participated in the development of a class 8 electric truck, though its owner is, understandably, reluctant to talk much about the vehicle until he’s convinced that it’s ready for its reveal.

HWT Related: Playing hard to get with an electric truck

Doubtless, some university studies offer dubious ventures onto the cutting edge of something probably better left alone. Take for example a 2011 study to determine if rats prefer Beethoven over Miles Davis, unless of course, the rats are injected with cocaine, which then leaves the euphoric rodents leaning towards “Birth of the Cool.” No word yet on whether the rats have been induced into a sleepless, paranoid, psychotic state where there’s a cat lurking around every corner. You’re welcome to consult Albany Medical College to learn more.

A study with far more immediate practical implications was conducted by the University of Michigan concerning windshield maintenance.

We all need reminders for best maintenance practices. The University of Michigan went above and beyond in a study which revealed that water repellent windshield treatments improve driver response and safety. Notice how your IQ rises as you read the university’s following statement (okay, it worked on the lab rats, anyway.)

“The application of hydrophobic treatment to the windshield of an automobile, under simulated rainy-driving conditions, resulted in significantly improved visual acuity and decreased response time to recognize a simple target. The improvement in response time was, on average, greater than one second: equivalent to more than 88ft of travel at 62mph.”

I love it. I’m so nerdy about English that I’m jealous of the phrase “improved visual acuity.” Only a grad student or PhD could get away with that.

Bottom line: it works. ‘It’ in this case are windshield products like Rain-X. ITW Global Brands, makers of Rain-X, wisely packaged the university’s study results in a press release and included some additional information that makes good sense.

“The U.S. National Safety Council says that 90% of driving decisions are based on what we see around us, so the importance of a hydrophobic water beading coating such as Rain-X Glass Water Repellent cannot be overstated. And with 2016 on track to have above average rainfall, taking the necessary steps to improve driver visibility is essential.”

If a windshield coated with a substance like Rain-X can afford a driver an additional second of reaction time, it doesn’t take a lab full of rats to figure out that it’s sound advice worth putting into practice.

Now, we just need a study to determine the most effective methods at implementing and maintaining a policy of best practices. Hmmm…shock the rat with a jolt of current, or reward it with a cookie?