My Greatest Fear #37: Passing Out from Exhaust Fumes While Cleaning Snow Off My Car

Last Saturday night, it snowed in St. Louis. I woke up Sunday morning to find my car covered with about 4 inches of powder.

As I was brushing snow off my car (I brush ALL of the snow off my car, even the hood and roof. I’m always worried that if I leave any of that snow, it’ll somehow end up covering the windshield as soon as I start driving), I noticed that my instinct was to dart around the exhaust pipe. I did this without thinking.

At first I thought it was because I didn’t want to get my dress pants dirty, which is true. But then I noticed that I avoid inhaling any exhaust fumes at all, even if it means holding my breath. That’s when I realized: I’m afraid of inhaling too many fumes and passing out in the snow.

Not only is this a concern for my health, but while I’m laying there in the snow, the car keeps burning through fuel. Some lucky passerby might even notice that they have a free car at their disposal and take off, leaving me to the birds. This could happen.

Has this ever happened to you? Perhaps not from exhaust fumes, but from a permanent marker left uncapped or a bottle of glue that found its way into your nose? If the movies teach us anything, it only takes a few seconds of exposure before you pass out.