If you live anywhere snow falls, you have probably experienced the joy of getting your car stuck in the snow. Often times it isn’t the snow on the road that poses a problem. It is the snow the plows push to the side of the road. You slide a little or you take a corner just a little too sharp and the next thing you know, your vehicle is wedged into a pile of snow. Simply putting the vehicle in gear and backing out or driving forward is futile. You are truly wedged in. What do you do?
Well, for some, a quick call to the local tow company is the first call. For others who don’t particularly want to wait for two hours or more while the tow trucks pull out all of the other people who are stuck or who have wrecked their cars, there are some options.
1-Rock it. If you have a couple handy helpers, giving the car a good rocking back and forth will often be enough to get the tires the traction they need to get out of the snow. This is typically easiest in smaller vehicles and SUVs. Have the helpers push the vehicle on the opposite side of where you are hoping to drive out of. Put the car in reverse and press the gas with helpers pushing if they are on right end. Quickly move the car back into drive and try to go forward. If that doesn’t work, leave the car in drive (works best for front wheel drive cars) and the people will stand in the back. Develop a rythym that involves helpers pushing at the same time gas is given. Stop and repeat. This will get a good rocking motion that will hopefully get the car moving.
3-Floor mats are great for providing the traction needed to get out of the snow. There is typically one or two tires that fail to gain traction and will spin when gas is pressed. Place the mats as far under the tires as possible. You may need to repeat this process every few feet until the vehicle is cleared.
4-Putting small twigs and pine needles under the spinning tires is another way to help the tires grip onto something besides the slippery snow.
5-Digging out all of the tires and ensuring there is a clear path back onto the road is another option. You will still likely need to combine the digging with either sand or mats under the front tires to get traction.
If you find yourself stuck in the snow, don’t panic. Turn on your headlights and flashers so other vehicles see you. If you are on a busy street, it is a good idea to get any passengers out of the car and into a building for safety, just in case your car is hit by another sliding car. Because accidental slide-offs or turning down a side street that hasn’t been plowed is so common, you should always be prepared in the winter. Always have the appropriate gear in the vehicle for you to put on should you have to spend anytime out in the snow.
If you are stranded for long and want to stay warm, make sure you clear the snow from around the exhaust to keep it from coming back into the car. If you can’t do that, do not allow your car to run!
Good luck and hopefully you can avoid any snowbanks this year!