Driving And Safety

What to do if your Car is Stuck in Snow or Ice

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"What to do if your Car is Stuck in Snow or Ice"
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Don't Panic!

It takes surprisingly little snow to hang up most cars these days. As long as your car is just stuck in a little snow, feel confident that there are a number of tricks to help you get it out. Getting too reckless while trying to extricate your vehicle from the snow can cause damage, particularly if your vehicle happens to be caught on an object that is obscured by the snow, such as a curb.

Before doing anything else, try the following steps:

-> Rock the vehicle: by putting the car alternately into drive and reverse you can literally rock your car out of the place you are stuck. This takes some timing but is my favorite method since it doesn't involve leaving the vehicle or touching any snow.

-> Take the floor mats out and put them under the stuck tire(s) for traction: This can be quite effective but tends to be a little messy, especially if you are wearing nice clothes.

-> Wait for a passerby: Nothing brings out the community spirit quicker than helping out someone in need of a push. Two days ago, my 4-Wheel drive vehicle was stuck in front of my place for about 10 seconds before I switched into 4-wheel drive. In the meanwhile, neighbors from up the street were already headed down to give me a push.

Of course, as the old adage says, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Try the following strategies so that your car doesn't get stuck in the first place:

-> Throw some extra weight on over the rear axle in a rear wheel drive vehicle: Carrying bags of sand in the trunk is common, but carrying cat litter has the benefit of allowing you to use it for extra traction if you do get stuck.

-> Invest in winter tires: If you live in an area that gets more than one good storm a winter, give yourself some peace of mind. They are no more costly than regular tires and will allow you to go, even when other drivers are stopped by road conditions. I keep my winter tires on all summer long and have NEVER been caught unprepared by a freak ice storm.

-> Keep Moving! Virtually everyone who gets stuck in snow does so after having stopped or parked the car. If you are in a place where you might get stuck, keep the car moving, even if this means creeping through a stop sign when it is all clear or parking farther away from your destination.

Abide by these preventative tips, and you'll thank yourself more than once.

More about this author: Russell Dawson

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