Everyday Items Make Winter Driving Safer and More Enjoyable

Using household items like socks, cat litter or shaving cream helps make winter driving safer, if you know how to use them.

Shaving cream, cat litter and other household items help in cold weather

THE PROBLEM:

People often find themselves unprepared for the challenges brought on by winter driving.

THE SOLUTION:

Use everyday household items in new ways to solve common cold-weather vehicle problems.

WHAT WE LEARNED:

While nothing beats specialized equipment, these winter driving hacks save time and money and can cut the hassle of getting stuck without the right tools on hand.

1. Socks

Wearing socks over your shoes can increase traction on ice. While not as effective as cleats, socks are smaller, less expensive and easier to find. Socks also can be used as windshield wiper covers – place a sock on each wiper to prevent it from freezing before a winter storm.

2. Cat Litter

Bags of litter in the trunk or cargo area add traction in rear-wheel-drive vehicles. Spreading litter under tires adds friction, helping tires roll. Litter, like road sand, bites into snow and ice. It can also make sidewalks and driveways safer for walking. But use sparingly: When ice melts, litter can become a clumpy, foul-smelling mess.

3. Shaving Cream

Shaving cream carries many of the same ingredients as commercial defoggers but is less expensive and can be found nearly everywhere. Thoroughly clean the inside of your windshield. Place a small amount of shaving cream on a clean, dry towel and wipe across the windshield. Apply just enough for a visible layer, then wipe off.

4. Rubbing alcohol

A simple solution of equal parts rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle can thaw icy windows in seconds. Shake the solution and spray a think layer across the ice. Once the ice melts, use windshield wipers or a clean cloth to remove it. Thick layers of ice may take multiple applications.

5. Winter Survival Kit

An emergency kit is especially important during cold months. Include jumper cables, a blanket, first-aid kit, flashlight and road flares. Consider including warm clothing, hand warmers, non-perishable snacks and bottled water.

By Chris Teague