Tips For Winter Driving in Salmon Arm BC
Tips For Winter Driving in Salmon Arm BC
Posted on December 23, 2020
Toyota Tips with James
With 27 years of experience, Toyota Service Department manager James MacDonald knows a thing or two, because he’s seen a thing or two! Here are some driving and vehicle ownership tips he’d like to share with you.
Winter Driving tip #1
Frosty Winter Mornings
We’ve all experienced the cold January mornings in Salmon Arm when you go out to your car and the world is a winter wonderland. It's as though grandfather frost was having a particularly fun time. Snowflakes the size of small birds float gently down, and Shuswap Lake is calm like a sheet of glass. It’s a beautiful sight, until you get in your car and you can’t see a thing! So naturally the first thing you do is you start the car, crank the defroster, brush off snow and scrape off the frost. Perfect! Now you can see again and set off on your journey. The cabin is toasty and the stunning winter landscape is sweeping past you as you cruise through the Shuswap. Those giant snow flakes exploding on your windshield like a white fireworks display. Then after a while your windshield starts getting streaky and the blades are building up with ice. Before you know it the feeling of joy while admiring the beauty around you changes to frustration as you pull over to smack the wipers and shake off the slush! As you’re getting back in you wait for a car to pass by and notice that they don’t even have their wipers on! The snow seems to be floating around the car, and you think to your self "now what is going on there!”.
The Science Behind This
Well here’s some neat info and a bit of science to help you have a more enjoyable winter driving experience. When a windshield defroster is set to the maximum setting on most vehicles it will do a great job to help you warm up the glass and scrape the frost off with ease. It also removes condensation on the inside so you can see clearly and be safe. When you start driving, the moving air creates a windchill effect that should cool the outside of the glass closer to ambient air temperature. So if you leave the setting the same while you’re driving you will begin to overheat the glass so it is far greater than the outside temperature. This melts the snow upon contact with the glass forcing it to stick rather than be pushed by the airstream created at the front of the vehicle. The snow turns to slush and accumulates at the perimeter of the windshield over time. Your blades eventually begin to drag it across the windshield, which is cooler at the top than at the bottom, allowing it to freeze and compounding the problem with every swipe. The cooling slush will eventually form ice build up preventing the blade from working properly and reducing visibility to an unsafe amount.
Tips and Solutions
The solution to this is to reduce the intensity and temperature of your vehicle's climate control system and not overheat your glass once you start driving. This keeps it closer to the outdoor ambient temperature and prevents the snow from sticking at driving speed (as an added bonus it will keep your eyes from drying out too). Of course it won’t always keep your windshield dry. At low speeds or when you come to a stop there isn’t enough wind force to blow the snow away. That’s when a few sweeps of the wiper blades should remove the snow. Particularly heavy snow on mild weather days will stick more, however ice build up will also be less of an issue too. A great vehicle feature to have in those situations is found on many Toyota models - a wiper blade de-icer. These heaters are nestled at the bottom of the windshield to keep the rubber portion of the blade warm, supple and ice free. This great feature will further assist you by making sure there is good contact with the glass in those situations when snow begins to stick to the glass again.
Hopefully your next winter drive around Salmon Arm will be an enjoyable one with the tips and tricks you can learn from our service department.
We wish you a happy holiday season from everyone at Hilltop Toyota!