Dig out with common sense

Stress, strains, accidents and other dangerous conditions often accompany a snowstorm. Although thousands of drivers are digging their cars out from this winter’s snow, a sore back, fender-benders and serious injuries do not have to be the inevitable result. Experts advise some common sense tips.
“Clear the tailpipe of any snow before you even start your car engine,” advised Ray Palermo, director of public relations for Response Insurance, a national car insurer. “And, if the snow is above the bottom of your car, 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 gasses can quickly build up in the passenger compartment. He also suggests:
• See and 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 only blow onto your windows again, and onto the cars behind you.
• Avoid stress and 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.
• Rock it. If digging and spreading of sand near the wheels still doesn’t get you out — use your car’s weight to your advantage. Flooring the accelerator pedal rarely helps and can result in an unexpected and potentially uncontrollably dangerous acceleration. But, 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 snow.


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