Driving on snow is tricky. Heavy snowfall can make the roads slippery and your vehicle might lose traction in such conditions. Try these tips if you are stuck in snow.
If a whiteout is on the way, so we should stocked up on some candles, batteries and snacks at home but what if our cars are stuck in snow? Those people who are living at places where the air hurts people's faces for a large portion of the year are very well familiar with driving problems in snow but for people who are visiting such places for vacation or work or not fully aware with what to do if their car is stuck in the snow.
Getting stuck in the middle of a big stack of snow or on a stretch of ice on the road is a very common-view during the cold winter months. In this below article, there are a few ways and some advices on driving techniques to using props and how to prepare for a whiteout and get the car out from the snow.
Before it snows
There are 2 things we should do before the ice storm arrives to get our cars back on road.
- Check the tires
If you are going to be at a place where a foot or 2 of snow is normal thing, then they should definitely change them to snow tires instead of normal tires. Check air pressure and make sure tire tread is in correct position before snowing.
- For emergency, keep a snow shovel in the car
This will not only help us to get our cars out from the snow but we can also help others who are caught unprepared in the snow.
Before turning the car on
- Turn off the traction control
Both the drive wheels i.e. front tires on a front wheel drive, rear tires on the rear-wheel drive and all wheel drive or 4 wheel drive cars should have traction to get the car unstuck. Therefore, turn off the car's traction control system which is a button usually present on the dashboard or console.
- Clear the path around the tires
Begin with clearing out the snow from the front, underneath and back of the driving tires. Dig a path long enough for wheels to move to and fro a few feet, so that we have enough space on either end of the car. If we are covered with snow under the car blocking the exit then this is a big problem. If someone doesn't have a shovel, then try using the ice scraper, screwdriver, or any other tool at that moment for at least breaking the ice which has formed below the tires. Also, keep in mind that rougher surfaces will provide more traction. And also shove out the tailpipe before starting the engine, because many people have lost their lives from carbon monoxide forming inside the car due to blocked exhaust pipe.
Some necessary measures when a car is stuck in snow
- The technique of forward and back
Firstly start the car, roll down the windows and take off the hat and earmuffs, etc for clear hearing. It will be better if we stick our heads out of the window to watch the front tire. The best traction is achieved by straining the wheel. Put the car in the lowest gear and move forward just a little bit and slowly back up. Don't accelerate the engine. Then stop and put the car in the forward direction and apply some gas which can compress down the loose snow and gives enough traction to get out. Be cautious, if you hear any tire spinning, take off the foot from the gas immediately.
- The technique of braking
It the car doesn't move or the tire keeps on spinning then try braking while at the same time giving a little gas. This will helps in reducing the spinning and transferring some power to the wheels. If you have a front-wheel drive car then try turning the wheels slightly to the other way and observe if it gives more traction in that way. Only try this method for a few seconds as this can overheat the brakes.
- Find some manpower
Sometimes a push can also help. Be 100% sure and only use gear that can keep pushers out of danger. Apply forward gear if they are pushing the car from behind. Tell the pushers to push the car on the count of three and gently apply the gas.
- Take help of snow chains
If someone is still stuck but has snow chains then chain up the wheels to get some extra traction.
- The technique of rocking
If someone doesn't have snow chains and the car is moving forward but then stops suddenly, then try rocking it to and fro between forward and reverse gears. Give a little gas when the car starts to swing forward out of reverse. This will give enough momentum to the car to move out of the snow. Be careful because this kind of rapid shifting can overload the transmissions and only try this method for a few times or this can end up in expensive damage.
- Take the help of sand or sandpaper to add up the traction
If the wheels are still spinning then put something on the ground that doesn’t damage the tires which will help in adding up the traction. Therefore, just sprinkle some sand in front and back of the drive tires. Be cautious; don't ever try to use antifreeze agents to melt the snow. Antifreeze agents are very toxic for children, pets, and wild animals and can also poison marine life.
In some states, it is illegal to put antifreeze agents on the ground. By the way, using salt as a deicer is also a very bad idea for the environment and the car because it is corrosive to metals and becomes less effective below 25°F. There is another way to add traction, just lay cardboard, plywood, or car's floor mats in front and back of the drive tires. If someone has none of these things, weeds or branches from the side of the road can also be used.
- Take out a little air from the tires
The last trick is to take out a little air from the tire which is just enough to look visibly lower. Do this trick only if the tires can get quickly refilled somewhere closed by. Driving on underinflated tires puts more rubber in contact with the ground which will give better traction for a short distance. But this way is very dangerous and unsafe.