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When driving in the snow, there’s always the chance that you could spin off the road and wind up stuck. Even if you don’t go far off the road, your car can still be trapped in the slush and snow that piles up on the shoulder. Additionally, it’s very easy to get stuck when you’re trying to back into your driveway and the snow is coming down fast and hard. If you’re going to be driving in slick conditions, then it’s wise to know what to do when the main drive tire for your car is trapped.
If you’re slowly moving into or out of a parking area and your car suddenly loses traction, the first thing you should do is stop. Once you hear that tire spin, pressing on the gas will only dig you into a deeper hole. Instead, put your car in the opposite gear and go in that direction enough to get the car out of the slick spot. Change direction on the wheel slightly and proceed again in a slightly more aggressive manner. You should bypass the problem spot and get through it easily. This method works well when dealing with driveways. If you’re in a front-wheel drive car, then you can also try changing the direction of your tires to see if you can catch a spot with better traction. Another way to prevent problems is to make sure your tires are the right pick for winter, so visit a tire center like Discount Tire Centers just in case.
Unfortunately, there are times when you’re not dealing with a small slushy spot at the end of your driveway. If your drive tire is well and truly buried in a snowbank, then it’s time to start digging. Ideally, you should have a small shovel in your trunk. If you don’t, then grab whatever is handy. It can be your hands, a fast food cup, or even your ice scraper. Start clearing the snow out from in front of and behind the tires. Be sure that you also clear the tailpipe.
Once you dig around the tires, get in and gently rev the engine to see if you can move. Speed is not your friend here. If the car is still stuck, then pounding on the gas will only result in a bigger mess. If you’re still not able to get traction, place the car mats in front of or behind the tires so that you can catch them for traction. Once you clear out of the spot, you can change direction and go around it. Another item you may want in your trunk is cat litter or sand. Either one will add traction for better control in bad weather, and you can use them when stuck to create some traction.
Even after digging and finding some traction, you may still need some extra help to get out. In this case, you’ll alternate between forward and reverse. Go forward as far as you can and then stop. Change direction, and go backwards for the few inches that you have. Continue doing this to build momentum in either direction and you’ll eventually be able to break free.
Driving in snow is not as hard as people think. It mainly requires you to slow down your speed and be a little more diligent. Be sure to stock up your car ahead of time so that you’ll be ready. Your wintertime emergency kit should include a small shovel, bag of cat litter, some clean towels to dry off your hands, and possibly a spare set of gloves.