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Buy Salt, Sand or Kitty Litter

Salt, sand or kitty litter can help your car regain traction on ice and snow.

©iStockphoto/tillsonburg

If you're not familiar with driving in foul weather, this tip might throw you a little bit. What do these things have to do with snow and ice? Turns out they're of vital importance when getting from point A to point B. When your tires can't find traction on the roads, you can get yourself going again if you have a supply of salt, sand or kitty litter with you.

Before you start buying up a supply of table salt, you should know that the salt used to de-ice roads isn't the same. Typically, "road salt" is sodium chloride in the form of rock salt, which has been crushed and mixed with another compound to keep it from caking. When you spread the salt over ice, it dissolves in the water and lowers the freezing point. Spreading the salt onto ice and snow lowers the water's freezing point, melts it and keeps it from refreezing. However, salt can also be corrosive, and it doesn't work to melt ice if the temperature is lower than 15 degrees Fahrenheit (9 degrees Celsius).

Sand and kitty litter provide traction for your car's tires rather than melting anything. If you find yourself stuck, pour a thin layer of either material directly in the path of your tires (after using a shovel to clear away any loose snow), then slowly apply the gas.

Our last tip for making your car safer for driving in foul weather involves putting together a kit.

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