(KSNF/KODE) — When you have to leave your vehicle outside in the elements during winter, you’re likely looking for ways to keep it as ready to go as possible.

One tip that many people follow is to leave their windshield wipers up off the windshield in the event of ice or snow. The idea is that your wipers will remain relatively untouched by winter precipitation if left upright. Plus, if they’re not touching the vehicle, the wiper blades won’t freeze to your windshield and make it harder to clear the frozen precipitation when you need to leave — especially when you’re in a hurry.

If you’re someone who lifts up your car’s windshield wipers before winter weather strikes, you could be doing more harm than good.

“The Drive,” a website featuring news, reviews, and guides about the modern automotive culture, reports that wipers aren’t built to stand up. The blades are designed to withstand pressure from the front, and without the support of the windshield on the other side, they could easily become too weak to withstand even a moderately strong gust of wind.

The result could be damage to the plastic gearing that keeps the wipers and attachment hardware securely in place. What may be worse is that you might not even notice anything is wrong until it’s too late since the damage could be hard to see and difficult to assess.

Vehicle experts say the better option is to cover your entire windshield if you want to save time in bad weather. This will also prevent any potential damage to your car’s wipers. An old rug or tarp will work as a windshield cover.

Other tips for winter weather driving, include:

  • Keep your car stocked with cold-weather gear, such as food and water, warm clothing, a flashlight, a glass scraper, blankets and medications.
  • Be sure your tires are properly inflated and have good tread.
  • Keep your fuel tank at least half full at all times.
  • Never heat up a vehicle in an enclosed area.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on icy or snowy roadways.