Let’s be real: even if you think that the snow is PRETTY, it sucks the minute you have to be out in it for long increments of time.
Over the years of being a Detroiter and living in Michigan, I have had it all happen. I’ve gotten my car stuck in the snow on Belle Isle. I’ve had to drive a beater car while living on 7 Mile, and I have (more than once) Tokyo Drift-ed my way through the city and slid into plowed snowbanks.
Needless to say, I’m kind of an expert on this.
So, to help you out (and to help out the lovely people around you), here are 5 things I’ve done that are tried and tested for a Snowpocalypse in whatever degree.
Invest In Some Kitty Litter
As silly as this sounds, especially if you don’t have cats, bags of kitty litter can save you if you get stuck somewhere. Not only does it help weigh down your trunk to help you not fishtail, if you end up getting stuck somewhere (like Belle Isle, for example), pour the Kitty Litter in front and behind your tires, and after a few college tries, you should be able to gain traction on the little gravel rocks you’ve just bestowed for your tires. Sure, the salt will help too, but sometimes you need the traction, not to wait for the snow to melt.
Keep A Shovel In Your Trunk
To dig yourself out of a snowy situation, especially if you don’t follow the Kitty Litter suggestion. Dig yourself out behind and in front of your tires, and make your tires a nice little pathway to roll out.
Know Where Your Traction Control Switch Is On Your Vehicle
This trick is an absolute lifesaver. In situations where you haven’t followed any of the above tricks, and you do get stuck, the best way you can combat the situation is to turn off your traction control. Then, you will be rocking your car back and forth by switching between Drive and Reverse. Eventually, in doing this, you should be able to floor yourself out of a situation, but beware, when you shut your traction control off, your steering does become looser, so you will need to be sure to manually control yourself, and beware hitting other cars, walls, poles and more around you.
KEEP YOUR DISTANCE!
This is in capital letters because people DON’T do it! Yes, we get you are in a hurry, but riding someone’s bumper is not going to make anything any better, especially if you have to abruptly stop. If there’s snow or ice on the road, there’s the opportunity to slide, and that creates a dangerous situation for all of the drivers on the road. Just keep your distance, it doesn’t make you any more bad ass or any less cool if you drive safely!
Do A Full Vehicle Check
Do you have enough gas in your car if you get stranded? Do you have a blanket in the car just in case? Are there giant chunks of ice hanging behind your tires? Is there snow clogging your tailpipe? All of these things are important things to consider. Be sure to do a run through on your car before taking a voyage out. And be sure to stock up on anti-freeze windshield fluid while you’re at it. Fun fact – sometimes gas stations mix them with water, so get some LEGIT jugs to hold on to.
Keep all of these things in mind when you’re out on the road, and for goodness sakes, STAY IN YOUR LANE ON THE ROADS!
Amy Cooper is a journalist and photographer in Detroit, MI, who’s weathered one too many frustrating winters.