- If your car becomes stuck in the snow, stay calm. That’s difficult to do when you’re not used to driving in snow, the kids are crying or grouchy, and you’re running late. But the best thing to do to free your car is not panic.
- "Whenever there is a frost people always run around covering up their plants but they don’t think about their cars," said Jeff Boone, automotive repair specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "Remember, safety first. There is no boss in the world that will fire you because you’re a little late [due to snow]…Better to get there late than have an ambulance get you there early."
- Ideally, your car already has properly inflated all-weather tires with good tread that can handle the snow. If you’re traveling beyond your state, be sure to check state laws. Neighboring states might require – or forbid – certain types of equipment such as chains. You should also have a shovel in the car, long before the first snow begins.
But what to do if all of your safe driving efforts still result in your car stuck in snow? Try these strategies from car safety experts to get you moving again.
- Don’t spin your tires. That will only dig your car in deeper and possibly damage the tires.
- Put the car in the lowest possible gear and try to back up slowly. Stop. Then move forward, slowly. Ideally, that rocking will help the car gain traction.
- If that fails, turn the steering wheel and again, try to back up slowly, then move ahead slowly.
- Still stuck? Get out of the car (make sure it’s in park with the safety brake on) and try to dig out any excess snow around the tires. If you have sand, kitty litter or even an old piece of cardboard, put it under your rear tires before you try to pull out again.