At last, the cold snap is easing and the snow is melting. Great news for Yakima Valley motorists, right?

Welllll ... not necessarily.

As it turns out, all that melting snow -- much of which is on top of hard ice -- can be even slicker (not to mention mushier) than packed snow. Which means unplowed backroads or driveways can quickly become wintry quagmires for the unprepared.

So here's a little hack that veteran central Washington drivers probably already know, but newcomers might not: in a pinch, kitty litter can pull you out of a slippery jam.

Yes, kitty litter.

Pouring a little around and in front of your pulling tires can get you rolling far enough to regain your footing in the slushiest and iciest of conditions.

Two obvious cautions:

1.) This is for very short distances -- say you're within just a few yards of where you can get better traction.

2.) You (and your cat) are far better served with fresh litter out of the bag, not the stuff in that reeking litter box in the back room.

So there you are. Keep a bag or two in your car, and you'll have a much better chance of making your destination and curling up by the fire safely tonight.