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What Happens When You Aren't Prepared for Cold Mornings...

Living in the South, Carolina to be exact, it’s not often that we have to contend with snow.  Or ice.  When it happens, southerners come up with some creative solutions to the problems they face.

Recently, we had a day of rain in upstate South Carolina.  By a day of rain, I mean a day where the water stood in the road, lower areas flooded, and small ponds formed where before there had been flat land.  By evening, temperatures were below freezing.  If you aren’t lucky enough to have a shelter for your car, that type of day means you’ll have problems with your vehicle in the morning.  If you are smart, you anticipate those problems and prepare for them.  Otherwise, you will have an interesting morning. 

Here’s my story.  I start out the door, ready to warm up my Lincoln to drive my daughter to school.  I click the remote, and I hear a satisfying plink, plink.   I grab the door handle, freezing cold and distasteful though it is, and pull.  Nothing happens.  So I pull harder, stamping my feet to try to ward off the chill that’s creeping up my pajama pants.  Still nothing.  I peer through the sheet of ice and notice that the lock is not coming up.  I put my key in the door for a little manual assistance.  Will the lock turn?  No, as I am sure you have already guessed.  Bright bulb that I am, I remember that I can open the back of the car, which I do, tearing away the weather stripping in the process, and crawl inside.  Problem solved, right?

Wrong.  I start the car, manually unlock the doors after much pulling and tugging, and kick them open.  Leaving the car heater running full blast (and the wipers making their screeching, pitifully slow track back and forth across the frozen landscape that used to be my windshield), I head back inside to wait with my laughing daughter.  Ten minutes later, after looking out and expecting to see an ice free, purring Lincoln, I see a sheet of ice, struggling windshield wipers, and my early start to the day disappearing.  I go into the kitchen and get a plate (this falls under the portion entitled what NOT to do of my story).  After scraping the windshield with the plate, which did not work (I’m still looking at the scratches on my windshield from that fiasco), I went back inside for a few more minutes of waiting.

Finally, the windshield cleared enough that we could leave.  I grabbed my small daughter from her warm bed, and nudged my older daughter out the door.  We trudged down the steps, only slipping once, and got into the car.  I noticed that my door did not want to seal.  No big deal, I thought, I’ll just hold the door while I drive. 

As we start down the road, with me holding my door, nervous anyway about the potential of black ice, the passenger door flies open!  Amid cries of protest (mine), fruitless flapping about of limbs (by me), and hysterical laughter by both of my fearless daughters, the door continues to open and close.  Luckily, we didn’t lose any of our belongings, no one fell out of that gaping hole, and we made it to our destination in one piece.

My point, you may ask?  It’s always smart to know how to properly open a frozen door and clear a frozen windshield.  People swear by silicone spray, WD-40, and even PAM cooking spray to open the doors.   A de-icing agent or an actual scraper (NOT a plate) should work for the windows.   If you have a garage, count your blessings.  Do that twice.  Even if you notice that your doors aren’t sealing properly during winter, it’s always smart to keep them locked during transit.  This will prevent their coming open accidentally, potentially causing harm to you or your car’s other occupants.

-Heather Dedmond, Vice President