Getting your Car Unstuck in the Snow

Winter Storm Jonas dumped loads of snow on the Mid-lantic region and left many folks snowbound.  Some folks, however, didn’t heed the call to stay off the roads and were driving anyway.  Many of these folks ended up getting stuck.  I decided to stay in and not add to the mayhem.  However, a good friend didn’t and he and his car got stuck.  In his case, it was bad enough that he had to leave his car on the roadway and walk home (he was lucky enough to get stuck close to his home).  

Did you go out and drive in the snowstorm?  Did you get stuck?
If your car gets stuck in the snow, according to napaonline here are some tips:
•Do not STOP!  That is correct, if you are sliding off the road towards a drift or snow pile, do not STOP!  Do not stop until you are absolutely, completely stuck.  Use your vehicle’s momentum, it can get you out of the mush.  
•Do not SPIN your wheels.  Once you are stuck and your tires are just spinning, STOP.  Continuing to press the gas will just make the situation worse.
•Apply the proper amount of power.  You need to “listen” to the throttle and “feel” the throttle.  If too much power is overpowering the tires and snow, use part throttle. You might be surprised how less power might just get you out.
•If you have an automatic transmission, put your shift to low.  If you have a manual transmission, you might want to shift into a higher gear, like 3rd or 4th and use your clutch to control the spinning wheels.  There will be less shock on the tires and you will have more control to keep the tires from spinning.
•Turn OFF your traction control.  Yes, this does seem counter-intuitive, but when you are stuck and need power to the wheels, any slipping will cut the power right when you need it. 
•Use the “ROCK IT” technique.  I used this technique effectively over the weekend to get at last 2 of my neighbor’s cars unstuck.  This technique is one where drivers first go forward, then reverse, then forward, then reverse, in a rocking fashion to create momentum.  There will come a moment when you feel the car get unstuck and that is when you need to really hit the gas.
•Also use traction devices if you have them.  You may use several different items to help create traction under the tires.  Rocks (quarter size and smaller), sand (some folks keep bags of sand in their trunks for this purpose), tree branches, cardboard, etc.  We successfully used some cardboard to get a neighbor’s car unstuck by putting that under their wheel with drive.  Another inventive neighbor used the welcome mat.  Where there is a will, there is a way.
•Drive STRAIGHT!  Make sure your tires are pointed straight.  Tires are stressed more when they are turned, making it harder to move so it is important the wheels be straight.
•Let some AIR pressure out of the tires.  This idea is similar to what folks do when they drive their vehicles on the beach.  Letting air out of the tires creates a wider area for the tires to grab the ground and get unstuck.
•Always have a SHOVEL.  Carrying a shovel in the trunk is a good idea.  The shovel can be very useful in digging the car out of the snow and clearing the area around the tires.  This can help get traction devices under the tires to get the vehicle unstuck.
The easiest solution to getting your car unstuck, is not to get stuck in the first place.  The next time we get a snowstorm instead of jumping in your vehicle and taking a ride, perhaps you can just enjoy the storm from your living room couch. Winter Storm Jonas dumped loads of snow on the Mid-lantic region and left many folks snowbound.  Some folks, however, didn’t heed the call to stay off the roads and were driving anyway.  Many of these folks ended up getting stuck.  I decided to stay in and not add to the mayhem.  However, a good friend didn’t and he and his car got stuck.  In his case, it was bad enough that he had to leave his car on the roadway and walk home (he was lucky enough to get stuck close to his home).  
Did you go out and drive in the snowstorm?  Did you get stuck?
If your car gets stuck in the snow, according to napaonline here are some tips:
•Do not STOP!  That is correct, if you are sliding off the road towards a drift or snow pile, do not STOP!  Do not stop until you are absolutely, completely stuck.  Use your vehicle’s momentum, it can get you out of the mush.  
•Do not SPIN your wheels.  Once you are stuck and your tires are just spinning, STOP.  Continuing to press the gas will just make the situation worse.
•Apply the proper amount of power.  You need to “listen” to the throttle and “feel” the throttle.  If too much power is overpowering the tires and snow, use part throttle. You might be surprised how less power might just get you out.
•If you have an automatic transmission, put your shift to low.  If you have a manual transmission, you might want to shift into a higher gear, like 3rd or 4th and use your clutch to control the spinning wheels.  There will be less shock on the tires and you will have more control to keep the tires from spinning.
•Turn OFF your traction control.  Yes, this does seem counter-intuitive, but when you are stuck and need power to the wheels, any slipping will cut the power right when you need it. 
•Use the “ROCK IT” technique.  I used this technique effectively over the weekend to get at last 2 of my neighbor’s cars unstuck.  This technique is one where drivers first go forward, then reverse, then forward, then reverse, in a rocking fashion to create momentum.  There will come a moment when you feel the car get unstuck and that is when you need to really hit the gas.
•Also use traction devices if you have them.  You may use several different items to help create traction under the tires.  Rocks (quarter size and smaller), sand (some folks keep bags of sand in their trunks for this purpose), tree branches, cardboard, etc.  We successfully used some cardboard to get a neighbor’s car unstuck by putting that under their wheel with drive.  Another inventive neighbor used the welcome mat.  Where there is a will, there is a way.
•Drive STRAIGHT!  Make sure your tires are pointed straight.  Tires are stressed more when they are turned, making it harder to move so it is important the wheels be straight.
•Let some AIR pressure out of the tires.  This idea is similar to what folks do when they drive their vehicles on the beach.  Letting air out of the tires creates a wider area for the tires to grab the ground and get unstuck.
•Always have a SHOVEL.  Carrying a shovel in the trunk is a good idea.  The shovel can be very useful in digging the car out of the snow and clearing the area around the tires.  This can help get traction devices under the tires to get the vehicle unstuck.
The easiest solution to getting your car unstuck, is not to get stuck in the first place.  The next time we get a snowstorm instead of jumping in your vehicle and taking a ride, perhaps you can just enjoy the storm from your living room couch.

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