The BCAA is preparing to receive between 4,000 and 5,000 calls for aid Friday, as extreme weather — freezing temperatures, rain and snow — hammer B.C., Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

It’s an increase between 40 and 50 per cent from usual call numbers across the three regions, according to customer care manager and automotive specialist Josh Smythe.

“People that are a little bit trapped, they’re on slippery surfaces and can’t get their vehicle in motion, and dead batteries are another big call when we get weather like this,” he explained.

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Smythe offered a number of tips for motorists who must brave the conditions Friday and over the weekend, starting with leaving the windshield wipers up when parking the car overnight.

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“Freezing rain can quite often cause windshield wiper issues. We have a habit of maybe just hitting the windshield washer fluid while the blades are frozen to the window, and if the motor engages it can dislodge some wiper mechanisms,” Smythe said.

“Stand your wipers up … so in the morning when you turn the engine on, if you left your wipers on, they’re not going to try and wipe and disconnect.”

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When it comes to preventing a dead battery in cold weather, the automotive specialist recommended using a battery maintainer that plugs into the house. If that’s not an option and it can be done safely, take a drive around the block to keep the battery voltage up.

Letting the car run for a prolonged period of time can actually help kill the battery, he told Global News.

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“Just firing up your car and letting it idle doesn’t really charge the battery a whole bunch because the voltage at an idle that’s being produced is operating the car,” he said.

“You want a higher RPM. That’s why you go for a drive … charging actually takes place.”

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Smythe also advised motorists to outfit their cars with proper winter tires, rather an all-season tires. Winter tires have larger gaps between the treads that give the snow somewhere to go, he said, and rubber that is more malleable in cold temperatures and offers better grip.

“This might seem like a little bit of an investment at the beginning, but in the long term, you’ll save money.”

Smythe advised folks to stay home if they can. Anyone who must leave should ensure their vehicle is properly equipped with good tires and an emergency kit.

&copy 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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