Winter weather can be unpredictable, and unexpected snowstorms or icy conditions can quickly leave drivers stranded on the side of the road. Getting stuck in the snow or on ice can be frustrating, time-consuming, and even dangerous if the temperature drops too low. So before going out, you should check the weather or predict the snow day. Fortunately, there are several techniques drivers can use to free their vehicles from snowdrifts or slippery patches of ice. The following tips can help you get back on the road safely.
1) Keep moving:
The best way to avoid getting stuck in the snow is to keep moving. If you feel yourself sliding off the road, keep your momentum going until you reach a clear and safe area. Even if you get stuck, keep moving as much as possible, as constant movement is better than just spinning your wheels.
2) Don’t Spin the Wheels:
When you find your car stuck in the snow, spinning your wheels will only worsen the situation. Stomping on the gas pedal and spinning your wheels will only dig you deeper unless you’re on solid ground. Instead, stop and reassess the situation before proceeding.
3) Apply Proper Power:
Using the accelerator pedal with finesse can be the key to getting your car unstuck from snow. Use the throttle sparingly and correctly to avoid overpowering your tires and causing them to spin. Sometimes, even a little bit of power can be enough to get you out of a tough spot.
4) Shift to Low Gear:
If you have an automatic transmission, make sure it’s shifted into the lowest gear. For manual transmissions, shifting into a higher gear, such as 3rd or 4th, can give you more control to prevent the tires from spinning in the snow.
5) Turn Off the Traction Control:
While traction control is helpful in most situations, it can hinder your efforts to get unstuck from snow. Turning off traction control will allow you to spin your tires without interference from the onboard computer. Be careful not to use too much power, as it can still cause the tires to spin and dig you in deeper.
6) Rock Back and Forth:
The “rocking” maneuver is a classic technique to unstuck a car from snow. Roll the vehicle forward using the engine, shift into reverse, roll backward, and then shift into a drive to roll forward again. Repeat this process several times to build momentum and get out of your stuck rut. This technique is easier for automatic transmission owners, but manual transmission owners can also use it with a little bit of coordination.
7) Use Traction Devices:
While it may be too late to add chains or cables to your tires, there are other items you can use to enhance your tires’ grip. Small rocks, sand, or even branches can give you the traction you need to get unstuck. It’s a good idea to carry a bag of sand or kitty litter in your car when you live in an area prone to snow.
8) Go Straight Ahead:
Ensure your tires are pointed straight ahead when trying to get unstuck from snow. When your tires are turned, it creates more stress on the tires, making it harder for the vehicle to move and easier for the tires to spin.
9) Let Some Air Out:
If you’re having trouble getting the necessary grip to get out of the snow, try letting some air out of your tires. It will create a wider contact patch and give you the traction you need to get unstuck. Just remember to reinflate your tires as soon as possible and drive cautiously until you do so.
10) Be Ready to Shovel Snow:
Sometimes, digging out your car unstuck from snow is the only way to get it unstuck. Carrying a camp folding shovel can make this task easier, but even a stick or plastic cup can help you remove the snow, slush, and mud around your tires.
How to prevent your car from getting stuck in the snow?
If you live in an area with a lot of snowfall, preparing your car ahead is important to avoid getting stuck in the snow. Here are some tips on how to prevent your car from getting stuck in the snow:
Install winter tires:
Installing winter tires is one of the best ways to prevent your car from getting stuck in the snow. Winter tires have better traction on snow and ice than all-season tires, making it easier to drive on slippery roads.
Check your battery:
Cold weather can drain your car’s battery, so it’s important to ensure it’s in good condition before the snow starts falling. If your battery is old or weak, consider replacing it before winter.
Keep your gas tank full:
A full gas tank can help prevent your fuel lines from freezing in cold weather. Plus, if you get stuck in the snow, you’ll want to ensure you have enough gas to keep your engine running and the heat on.
Use a snow cover:
Covering your car with a snow cover can help prevent snow and ice from accumulating on your windshield and windows. It can save you time and effort when it’s time to clear the snow off your car.
Keep a shovel in your car:
Even if you take all the necessary precautions, there’s still a chance you could get stuck in the snow. Keeping a shovel in your car can help you dig yourself out of a snowdrift or clear a path for your tires.
Getting a car unstuck from snow can be manageable with the right techniques and mindset. When you find your car stuck in the snow, the first step is to avoid spinning the wheels and digging deeper. Then, try to clear as much snow as possible from around the tires and create a path for your car to follow. Gently rocking your car back and forth while using a low gear may also help to gain traction and get it moving. If these methods don’t work, you may need to call for help or wait for better conditions before trying again. Remember always to prioritize safety and stay calm in these situations.