How to Work Through an Ice Storm

Work Through an Ice StormDecember is here, and for most parts of the country, winter is arriving in full force. The best way to avoid a wreck on the ice is to not drive at all. But, many people must drive through icy conditions just to make it to work. When you head to work in winter weather, keep these few tips in mind to ensure your commute is a safe one.

Plan for Inclement Weather.
If the forecast calls for bad weather overnight, plan for bad road conditions even if your local meteorologist has a reputation for not always being on the money. If you park outside, be prepared to de-ice your car in the morning. Wake up a little earlier to give yourself plenty of time to defrost your car and drive to work unrushed. If you do find yourself with little time to let your car’s defrost system kick in, spray de-icing solution onto your windshield. This can be found at your local automotive store or a homemade mixture of half water and half vinegar will work just as well. Be sure to not pour hot water onto your frozen windshield because it can crack the glass.

Pack Proper Equipment.
To be on the safe side, store jumper cables, a flashlight, a blanket, gloves, a bag of salt or cat litter, and an ice scraper and brush in your vehicle. Then you’ll be prepared to handle the worst no matter where you are. If you’re in the office when snow and ice arrive and you aren’t properly prepared, a credit card can work well as a makeshift ice scraper. Also, make sure your cell phone is always charged in case you get stranded and need to call for help.

Complete Your Tasks on Time.
Missing a deadline or coming in to work late due to inclement weather can cause headaches for you and your team. To help out in times like these, finish your work quickly and work ahead if you can during the winter in case a blizzard hits or schools get cancelled and you have to stay at home to take care of a child. You’ll be less stressed and not so far behind when you return to work. Also, if you foresee a storm, talk to your supervisor about tele-commuting or working from home.

By taking a few precautions and planning ahead before bad weather hits, you can avoid the perils of traveling to work in frigid weather. Drive safely!

Have other winter weather tips? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.


  1. Theresa

    I would try the half-water/half-vinegar before I would use de-icer again on my windshield. I have had several cars, and de-icer always leaves a film on the windshield that does not come off. That film really creates havoc at night, or on sunny days, especially when driving into the sun, as do on my way to work.
    Also, remember that being/running late is no excuse to take chances and cause an accident/get yourself seriously hurt or injured. If you have bad stretches to travel, call work as you leave, and say which way you are going. That way, if you get stuck in a dead spot for your cell phone, someone knows and can send out the troops. I wonder sometimes if James Kim would still be alive if he had had better communication.

  2. James | Express Job Blogger

    Theresa – Thanks for your insight!
    Ruth – There are many useful ways salt or cat litter can come in handy during winter driving – mainly dealing with traction.
    They can provide extra weight in the car for added tire traction.
    If your vehicle does lose traction, you can spread the salt or cat litter around your drive wheels to help your car get a grip.
    Also, you can use it to help melt the snow if your car does get stuck.

  3. Deborah

    I hate to plug particular products, especially as this time of year is short on cash for a lot of people, but there is a product to look into. It’s called Rain-X, available at Wal-Mart and most other retailers with an automotive section. It creates a thin polymer coating on your windshield that stops rain from sheeting and ice from adhering to the glass, which makes ice a lot easier to break off. It is low-cost and needs to be reapplied once a month (on a warm/er day for best results), but makes an immediate difference.

  4. Campbell County Emergency Management

    One Comment. Salt is a good idea. I would not recommend cat litter as its a Clay based product and clay is very slick when wet. Salt or sand is your best bet. its also great for extra weight in the trunk

  5. Pascal Menezes

    Today when the temperature was minus 25 degrees celcius, I noticed a film (of frozen vapour?) on the inside of my windshield and the driver side glasses. I could not drive because I could not see the road. I tried to scrape if off using my credit card. I would like your advice on how I could avoid the build up of this film on the inside of my car.
    I noticed later that the uncraped portion of the film was slowing dissappearing and the scrappings melted with the heat in the car

  6. James | Express Job Blogger

    Great question Pascal! The air you exhale is very moist. One reason you can see your breath in colder weather is because your breath quickly saturates the surrounding air. Once enough saturation is in the air, fog or frost will begin to build up on your windshield.
    To avoid this, keep the air in your car circulating. The dry outside air will help compensate for the saturated air on the inside. Avoid using the “air re-circulation” button inside your car because it will just re-circulate the saturated air and quickly produce fog.
    When driving, remember to use the temperature setting. Your car can quickly fog up when the air entering is too hot. Instead of running on full blast high heat, try keeping the air cool, but warm enough to be comfortable.
    Hope this helps. Thanks for the comment.

  7. Kris

    Winter.. A season where we will see all the people covered with the thick jacket. All because of that snow, Though it is a great season there’s also a lot of danger and risk on it like what you said. For me just be ready all the time. The person who was redy to face anything is always safe.

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