Posted by: safedriver | January 22, 2012

How to get unstuck from the snow

Every now and then you may find yourself in deep snow after leaving work, school or home. If you have the necessary winter driving survival kit, you’ll be ok. If not, you’ve got some problems. Every vehicle should have the basic equipment such as a shovel, ice scraper and of course winter tires already on the vehicle. These simple items should easily help you during a heaving snowfall. Do you at least have these items in your vehicle?

Last winter I walked to my vehicle after work and found over a foot of snow surrounding it and all of the other vehicles in the parking lot. There was a driver stuck in the aisle with his wheels spinning while another person was trying to push him out of the deeper snow. Before I started to dig out my vehicle I stopped to help them. Since he didn’t have a shovel, I went to the trunk of my vehicle and got my shovel to help make the job easier.

After digging in front and behind each wheel, I asked him to gradually give it some gas. He gunned it; which caused his wheels to spin again. That caused ice to build up again under the wheels. By gradually giving it some gas, you can get your momentum going and that can help you continue out of the deep snow. Eventually he took my advice and started to move.

The real skill about getting unstuck from deep snow is to gently rock the car back and forth; going smoothly from drive to reverse. Doing it suddenly may cause damage to your transmission. The trick is to come off your gas and apply the brake immediately after your vehicle stops its forward motion, then shift into reverse. Gently press the gas while in reverse and stop immediately after progressive motion stops. By doing this back and forth, you will eventually gain enough momentum to leave your icy spot and continue along the path. Please be patient. Doing this too quickly may put you back into the icy spot. You will also need your front wheels straight and not turned for this to work.

If you have someone to help you, they can help you by rocking the vehicle as you gently apply the gas. To do this, have them push then release, then push, then release. Once you decide to change gears, make sure you tell them. No one wants to get run over while trying to help the vehicle from getting unstuck.

If you are by yourself, you may also want to add some salt or sand in front and behind the drive wheel. This will help your tire gain some traction once slight momentum begins. If you don’t have salt or sand available to you, use some kitty litter as it acts the same as the salt and sand does. I don’t think I need to tell you to use fresh kitty litter and not used kitty litter.



  1. What do you think of using the inside floor mat for traction? good or bad idea? But having and using a shovel would probably be the thing to do first.

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