Friday, September 9, 2011

Choosing The Correct Windshield Wiper Improves Winter Driving Safety

With winter looming many drivers prepare their vehicles for winter by installing a set of winter tires. While these are essential for safe driving, many fail to recognize windshield wiper blades are just as important.

There are hundreds of brands and types on the market. Which ones are the best for winter driving?

There is no easy answer to this question. There are a number of factors that come to play when deciding. The wiper blades you select must match your vehicle and be suitable for the climate in which you are driving.


Most vehicles come with all-purpose blades installed from factory. These are adequate for clearing the windshield in most mild climates but are rarely suitable for winter driving. With snow, ice and salt a reality of winter driving, having the correct wiper blade is essential for safe winter driving.

You can choose from winter, silicone, shaker, standard or heated wiper blades. Each has its own unique use. Some are better suited for mild climates while others are designed exclusively for harsh winter conditions.

When winter approaches it is advisable for drivers to choose winter wiper blades. These are designed to handle snow and ice and survive the harsh conditions typically associated with winter driving.

Most winter wiper blades will prevent snow and ice from accumulating and clear the windshield's surface during driving.

However, it is recommended you choose a blade with a tough rubber surface and a body made of a heavy gauge steel. This will allow it to resist severe winter conditions and changes in temperature that cause other blades to freeze and become ineffective at clearing the snow from the windshield.

Some manufacturers have improved on the standard winter wiper blade by making the surface of silicone instead of rubber. This allows it to last longer than rubber ones and provides better clearing capability.

Other manufacturers offer a vibrating wiper blade known as a shaker blade. These help dislodge snow and ice from the wiping surface and helps prevent any accumulation of debris while driving. These types of wiper blades are effective in many different driving climates not just winter.

Shaker blades are typically more expensive to purchase and more complex to install. However, they offer superior visibility for the driver when compared to standard winter or silicone blades.

Drivers can also opt to install heated winter windshield wiper blades on their vehicles. These have small heating elements inside the rubber cleaning surface and melt both the snow and ice during operation.

Drivers activate the heating element with a switch installed inside their vehicle. These heated blades offer superior clearing capability over any other blade on the market. These are also the most expensive to purchase and the most complex to install.

No matter which type of wiper blade you choose, you can improve the effectiveness of your choice by using a washer solution designed for winter use. This will help prevent snow and ice from accumulating on the windshield and allow the blades to work better.