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Digging Your Car Out of the Snow

Digging Your Car Out of the Snow
How to avoid the stress, strain and dangers of digging your car out of the snow

Stress, strains, accidents and other dangerous conditions often accompany a snowstorm. Although thousands of drivers will be digging their cars out from under the snow this winter, a sore back, fender-benders and serious injuries don't have to be the inevitable result.
To get off to a safe start, follow some common sense advice.
First Things First
Clear the tailpipe first. Dig the snow away from the vehicle's exhaust pipe before you start your car engine. Don't forget to dig a hole through the snow to the mid-section of your car's underbody to allow any leaks from your exhaust system to vent as well. Without proper ventilation, deadly gases can quickly build up in the passenger compartment.
See & Be Seen
Clearing the ice and snow from your windshield and rear window is a good start, but don't stop there -- the headlights, taillights and side view mirrors are essential for visibility. And, don't forget to clear away snow from the hood and roof, which will blow onto your front and rear windows again.
Rock It!
If your digging and spreading of sand near the wheels still don't have you out - use your car's weight to your advantage. By rocking the car with quick forward and reverse movements, you can often use the weight and force of the car to push out and over any icy hill. Flooring the accelerator pedal rarely helps and can result in an unexpected and potentially uncontrollably dangerous acceleration.
Avoid Stress & Strain
It's tempting to get your car cleared off in the first attempt but, if you're not physically up to the task, take it in steps, bring a friend or hire a local towing company.
In a Skid?
Turn in the direction of the skid. It may seem counterintuitive at first and even a little scary when doing it, but turning into the skid is your best chance to regain some traction. If you have anti-lock brakes, apply firm and continuous pressure. If you do not have anti-lock brakes, mimic that effect by pumping the brakes.
Up...and Down
When you are heading up an icy or snow covered hill, you'll have the best chance of safely making it up by approaching it at a slow speed and maintaining that slow speed at a steady rate. Avoid sudden stops, quick accelerations and jerky motions. When heading down shift into a lower gear before making your descent and maintain a slow steady speed, rather than relying mostly on your brakes to improve traction.

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