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Getting Unstuck in the Snow

Think Ahead

  • Be prepared! Make sure that you are properly dressed in the event that you do get stuck. Ensure your cell phone has a good charge before you head out. There should be a small shovel and some sort of traction material in your trunk. Equip your car with winter tires. (That might even save you from getting stuck in the first place.)

Clear the Snow

  • First thing: remove any snow that may be blocking your tailpipe to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Clear a path a few feet in front of AND behind the drive wheels.
  • Clear as much snow from underneath the vehicle as you can. If your car is hung on the snow it will be that much more difficult to get unstuck.

Increase Traction

  • Distribute gritty material such as sand, rock salt or even kitty litter in front of and behind the tire. Traction mats, cardboard, or your floor mats (turned upside down) can sometimes help too.

Straighten your Wheels

  • This will maximize your traction and make the car easier to push should you require and get that sort of help.

Avoid Spinning the Tires

  • Easy does it! A light touch is the order of the day. If you spin your tires you’ll just dig yourself a deeper hole and you could potentially damage your tires. Turn off the radio and turn down the heater fan speed and even stuck your head out the window if necessary so that you can hear whether or not you’re spinning your tires.

Rock Your Vehicle

  • Creep forward until you start to encounter wheel spin, braking before you roll back. Put the car into reverse and repeat the procedure in the opposite direction. Make sure that your car is stationary before switching between forward and reverse gears. (You can even hold the transmission in neutral briefly.) Otherwise, you may damage your transmission, which is usually a costly repair. The idea is to slowly and incrementally create a path with enough traction that will allow you to develop some momentum.  

Use Your Transmission Effectively

  • If you have all wheel or four wheel drive and you can lock the system into using all four drive wheels make sure that setting is engaged. For vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions (including CVTs and dual clutch automatics) shift into low gear when attempting to move forward. Your wheels will be less likely to spin. With manuals, use second gear. This will slow the engine down.

Release Some Air From Your (Drive) Tires

  • If you let some air out of your tires they will spread out a bit more and increase the surface area between them and the road. Again, caution is the word of the day. This is probably a last resort and it’s important that you refill your tires to the recommend pressure before going any distance. Underinflated tires are dangerous, especially at speed.

Call for Help!

  • This might be the first thing you should do depending on your situation. If you are exposed to heavy traffic or located in such a way as to be surprise to passing motorists, it might be best call for professional help, and get yourself out of the way. Make yourself and your car as visible as possible to avoid further mishap.
  • If it is safe to do so, you might want to call on some friends (like your passengers!) to help push you out. Make sure that your helpers have enough traction to help push. Again, safety first!

Of course, you’ll want to avoid getting stuck in the first place if at all possible. That means adapting to what the winter brings: modifying your driving style and making sure that your vehicle is equipped with the proper rubber. Check out what we have on offer for winter tires and winter wheel and tire packages. Do you have a winter set ready to go? Don’t get caught in the rush – book your service today.