Tips for Removing Snow From Your Car

snowremovalA blanket of winter white snow is beautiful to look at, but it can be quite a chore to remove from your car and driveway when it’s time to venture out. If roads are still treacherous, it is best to stay put in the warmth of your home, if possible.  However, we understand that staying home is not always an option.  And since removing snow and/or ice from your car is a legal responsibility, here are some suggestions to speed up the process and make it a bit easier!

  • Be sure to allow plenty of time, especially if your arrival is time sensitive. Depending on road conditions, a winter storm will add time and stress to your ride, and you will want to drive as slowly and safely as possible.
  • Gather your snow-clearing gear ahead of time. You will need a snow shovel, ice scraper and a brush or small broom if your ice scraper doesn’t have one on it.
  • Start your car and turn on the defroster and heat. Let your car heat/defroster system do as much work for you as possible. Hopefully, you have sufficient gas to leave your car running for a short time in order to warm up and thaw out.  You will want to allow a few minutes for the interior heat to thaw out some of the snow and/or ice on the outside of your vehicle.  This will make your job a lot easier!

    Words of caution:   Never allow your car to run in a closed area like a garage, and be sure to clear any snow accumulation away from your exhaust pipe before starting the car and leaving it running—especially if you are sitting in the car while waiting.  Having your exhaust pipe covered or buried in accumulated snow will force the carbon monoxide fumes to back up into the car’s interior.  This odorless gas can kill people, especially babies and children, as well as animals in minutes.

  • Brush off your car. Start by brushing all the snow off your car from the top down. Don’t forget to remove the snow/ice from the roof of your car. The snow on your roof will eventually blow off the top of your car and could create a hazard to the drivers behind you. A soft bristled brush is recommended, don’t use anything hard or rough or you risk damaging the exterior paint.
  • Scrape your windows. If the ice is really thick, allow the defroster to run a little longer. Do not put hot water on your windows to help with this process; it can cause your windows to crack. Make sure you clear all windows so that you don’t have any blind spots when driving.
  • Don’t forget the little things. Remember to remove snow or ice from side mirrors, headlights and flashers. You should also clear your wheel wells and exhaust pipe (see #3).
  • Remove snow around your car. Using the snow shovel, remove all the snow around your car and clear a path to the road. Salt or kitty litter can aid in this process. Don’t forget to use your scraper or shovel to hit large pieces of snow/ice from behind your wheels.

Some states have laws that require you to remove all the snow from your cars before driving on the roads. Whether your state has this law in effect or not, it’s a good idea to take the extra time to remove all snow and ice before starting your trip.  Not only will it make your trip safer, it can also prevent an accident for those behind you.

Remember that the best course of action is to just stay off the roads until they are clear.  However, we understand that many people need to go to work (especially essential personnel) or have some good reason to be on the road.   If you have any tips or suggestions on snow removal that we didn’t mention, please share below in our comments section.  Thanks for your feedback and we wish you safe travels this winter!

Top 5 Car Travel Apps

cartravelappsTraveling by car? There are so many apps that can make your road trip easier. Gone are the days when you needed to unfold that paper map, look up the state in a map book, or watch all the signs as you approach an exit to see what’s there. Whether you’re looking for a place to stop, in need of directions, your gas tank is empty or just wondering about upcoming traffic, there’s an app for that!  So, check out our list of the top 5 apps for car travel to see which ones will work for you!

The iExit app tells you what is available at upcoming exits. This app is most beneficial if you are traveling on the highway. Using your device location, iExit lists a directory of services and businesses at the next 100 upcoming exits. It lists restaurants, hotels, gas stations, rest areas and more–and everything listed is within 1.5 miles of the exit! It has some great search features which allow you to search by name, category, amenities, hotel deals and much more. Looking for a favorite stop such as Starbucks?  Simply mark it as a ‘favorite’ and iExit will alert you of all the Starbucks on your route going forward.  Depending on your device, iExit can be downloaded for free or with a cost of $2.99 or less.

The Waze app is GPS-navigation-meets-social-media. It is a community-based travel app where users can report accidents, speed traps and other road hazards as they pass them, giving real time information.  This awesome app alerts you of upcoming traffic, road closures, accidents, police speed traps, and even potholes. Waze users share gas prices and info on local places and businesses. You can add Facebook friends and sync contacts to share and send ETA and travel info. Waze offers turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation and quickly reroutes based on road conditions.  Waze is a free app and a must-have for people who drive in highly-congested areas.

Let Roadtrippers plan your next trip!  All you have to do is input your starting location, destination, travel dates and things you might like to do and Roadtrippers will plan your excursion!  Once your route is set, Roadtrippers displays icons of all the restaurants, amusement parks, campsites, hotels, and other attractions along the way. The app finds all places of interest, but what sets Roadtrippers apart is the off-the-beaten-path and quirky attractions it also finds. Tap on any icon and Roadtrippers displays an information card about the potential stop. With a simple tap, you can add any attraction or stop to your trip. And, with all of those great features, Roadtrippers is a free app!

GasBuddy is a free app that allows you to find the cheapest price in any area for gas. It displays the closest gas stations and their prices. You can also search by city or zip code. In addition, GasBuddy allows users to share gas prices. One nice feature is the ‘My Favorite Stations’ feature. If you only like to use certain gas stations (for example, Exxon or BP), you can mark them as favorites and GasBuddy will only display those stations. Once you’ve found a gas station, you can navigate to it with a tap!  GasBuddy is an easy-to-use app that can save you time and money.

Google Maps
Google Maps is a free GPS-navigation app. Put in your destination address and Google Maps will give you turn-by-turn voice-guided directions, including lane guidance. Not only does the app provide driving directions, it also allows you to get walking, cycling, and public transit directions and maps are available. Google Maps provides live traffic conditions and automatically reroutes to find the best route. The app lets you save your home, work, and favorite addresses as a shortcut. Don’t have an address for your favorite restaurant or store?  Simply use the ‘search by name’ feature. Google Maps is accurate and easy to use, making it the top GPS app of choice.

Give these apps a try and see how they can improve your time in the car. Whether it’s saving money on gas or saving time driving, each one can benefit you in a different way. If you have a favorite app you’d like to share, or tips on the ones we mentioned, please leave your feedback in the comments section below.