When a snowstorm strikes, a winter-weather novice faces the hurdle of tunneling into a frozen car, its doors iced shut and its windshield coated with a thick white slab.
Without planning, the chore can last an hour – a hand-chilling eternity spent chipping away shards with a credit card or a spatula, waiting for the defroster to take effect.
But these snowstorm tips can spare any driver such frustration, requiring only a few household items. Gather them before the first flake falls.
Shaving Cream. Slather it on the inside of your car’s windshield for a minute then wipe off. Many of the cheaper cans have some of the same properties as defoggers, and once they’re wiped clean of Barbasol, will keep the glass from going cloudy.
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Kitty Litter. The absorbent silica variety works best to reduce indoor fogginess. Bag some up in a sock and lay it on the floorboards. This substance has the added benefit of grittiness, so toss a handful under the tires for traction.
Socks. Raise your windshield wipers into the upright position and fit an old tube sock over each one. This will keep them from sticking to the glass. Come morning, you can slide the socks over shoes for extra grip on an icy sidewalk.
Vinegar. The internet offers a dozen suggestions for coating the outside of a windshield and keeping it free of snow, and vinegars seems the most reliable, endorsed even by Snopes.com as a pre-storm coating. While bath towels absorb moisture and plastic bags stick to the glass, vinegar from a spray bottle licks snow as it falls.
Cooking Spray. Take a can of your favorite frying pan lubricant and spray it on the rubber seal of the car door, wiping away any excess. This helps keep the door from freezing shut. It also reminds a driver of breakfast.
Homemade Wiper Fluid. Your car’s tank of blue juice drains quickly in icy weather. Take a gallon jug of water and add a tablespoon of dish soap, a half-cup of vinegar, your favorite food coloring and – if desired – some isopropyl alcohol to prevent freezing.
Face East. Park your car toward the sun and it will help with the thaw as it rises.
With these tips in hand, pilot your creamy, vinegar-smeared, cooking spray-coated vehicle flecked with kitty litter off to a productive winter day.