Winter Weather Driving Hacks

Experiencing winter weather driving is important when becoming an experienced driver.

Brady Cook via Wikimedia

Experiencing winter weather driving is important when becoming an experienced driver.

Claire Wilson, Staff Writer

Normally, the potential for winter weather and icy road conditions leads students to hope that they won’t be going to school the next day. However, should school not be cancelled, these conditions should not be taken lightly. Here are some winter weather driving hacks that improve not only safety on the road but also your comfort. The items on this list are easily accessible and cheap, making them convenient not only for adults but for teenagers as well.

Keep chips in your car

Anuj Khemka
Chips of any kind can help car wheels get traction on a slippery road.


Not only do chips make a quick snack on the go, but they get you out of a jam when you’re stuck in the snow. Simply take a few chips, crumble them up, and sprinkle the pieces in front of, behind, and around the tire. This will provide the tire with the traction it needs to push the car forward. Typically, tortilla chips work best, but potato chips are equally effective.

Use hand sanitizer to unlock your car door

Anuj Khemka
Make sure the hand sanitizer contains alcohol, or else this hack will not work.

Some people keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in their purse, backpack, or car so it’s there whenever they need it. If you need to open your car manually using your key and the lock is frozen, put a few drops of alcohol-containing hand sanitizer on the key. The alcohol melts the ice and allows you to unlock your car.


Put Ziploc bags on your sideview mirrors

Anuj Khemka
Gallon-sized Ziploc bags are the best size for sideview mirrors to fit inside.

If the forecast is calling for frozen precipitation of any kind, it’s a good idea to cover the sideview mirrors of your car with Ziploc bags, securing the ends with rubber bands. This prevents the mirrors from icing over and saves you the trouble of using an ice scraper frantically before you have to leave the next morning.

Keep a pair of socks in your glove compartment

Anuj Khemka
The socks shouldn’t be too thin, which would defeat the purpose of the hack. Softball socks are a good option.

It might even be a wise idea to keep two pairs of socks in your car. Use one pair for an emergency wardrobe malfunction, in case you step in a puddle of slush getting into your car, and use the second pair to protect your windshield wipers the night before it snows. Put one sock over the end of each wiper so it won’t stick to the windshield.


Strategically park your car at the end of your driveway

Dannie Calder via Wikimedia
Try to park your car at the end of your driveway before the snow plow comes, so you don’t have to worry about getting over piles of snow.

Particularly if it’s steep, getting down the driveway in the morning could be a challenge. To avoid this, park your car at the end of your driveway the night before or night of the forecasted snowfall, far enough away from your street so snow plows cannot block it in. Though you’ll have to make a trek to the end of the driveway, you’ll get some exercise and save yourself the pain of getting the car down the driveway, too.

Do not use hot water to deice your windshield – make your own deicer

Famartin via Wikimedia
An ice scraper is a good option initially, but a deicing agent is wise if the ice won’t budge.

Most people have learned to pour hot water over the windshield when it’s so iced over even an ice scraper cannot get the job done. However, if there is even the tiniest crack in your windshield, the thermal shock that comes from the sudden blast of hot water will cause the glass to split immediately. Instead, make a deicing agent of three parts vinegar and one part water and spread it over your icy windshield. It can also prevent your windshield icing over if you put it on before it snows.

Pay attention to how you park your car

Christine Matthews via Wikimedia
The longer your car is parked towards the Sun, the more snow will be melted.

The Sun melts snow, and it can naturally melt the snow off your car and save you precious time. Simply park your car facing the Sun. For example, if you’ve driven yourself to school in the morning, park your car to the west. The Sun will beginning setting in the west, melting the snow on your car the whole time.

Keep power banks in your car

Santeri Viinamäki via Wikimedia
Keeping power banks in your car isn’t only a winter weather hack – it can be useful any time of year.

As many a teenager understands, your phone always seems to die at the worst moments. Driving home from school in rush-hour traffic is definitely one of those times. Keep at least two in your glove compartment, in case of really heavy traffic or a friend needing not only a ride home but a way to charge their phone.