How to Get a Car Out of Snow With or Without Help
The winter season is fun and all but picture this; you’re on your way home for the holiday season, and your car gets stuck in the snow, just outside of town. The chances of getting help are slim, and the lack of cell phone reception is a total recipe for disaster.
No one wants to spend Christmas alone stuck in the snow.
The best way to get your car out of the snow is to never let it get stuck in the first place. How? Keep reading to find out!
We’ll cover the following:
- Why do cars get stuck in snow?
- How to avoid getting a car stuck in snow
- What to do when you have a car stuck in snow
- How to get the car out of the snow without help
- How to get a car out of snow with help from someone?
In the end of the article, we’ll cover frequently asked questions. Stay tuned!
DISCLAIMER: Snow reduces the grip of your car tires substantially. Be careful when driving a car in snow or getting it unstuck from it. If you cannot get the car out of the snow by yourself, get professional help.
What Causes Cars to Get Stuck in Snow?
Whether your car is stuck in the mud or in the snow, the reason is the same; the tires do not have enough grip, or traction, to get the car to move.
Some of the reasons your car might get stuck in the snow include:
- The tires have spun and dug into the snow, and are now blocked in little ditches they dug.
- The floor of the car is resting on the snow and the weight of the car is not acting on the tires; hence no grip and no traction.
- The tires are worn out, and the rubber is unable to create enough grip to move the car along.
- You are on a slope and the weight of the car is exceeding the ability of the tires to move it uphill.
- It is too cold for the engine to operate properly, and it cannot create enough power to move the car.
Snow is a tricky surface to drive on, to say the least.
Before we discuss how to get a car out of ice, let’s see how you can avoid getting stuck in the first place.
How to Avoid Getting Stuck in the Snow
1. Do not Accelerate Hard
Accelerating hard on snow or ice can make the wheels spin.
Once the wheels spin, they can dig into the snow, and the car will get stuck. Even worse, you can lose control of the vehicle, and it can hit something or go off the road.
2. Do not Stop Uphill
When you are driving on snow, the tires barely have enough grip to keep the car going. It is the momentum of the car that prevents it from being stuck.
If you stop uphill, the grip of the tires might not be enough to move it again.
3. Deflate the Tires
It is good to reduce the air pressure before you get on a snowy road. Reduced pressure makes the tires bulge out, increasing the contact patch with the ground and hence the grip.
4. Use Chains
If your car supports snow chains, use them when driving on snow. This does reduce the speed of the car, but you’ll not get stuck.
5. Use Winter Tires
Winter tires are designed to have more grip on the road when it snows. If you drive on snow frequently, use winter tires.
6. Avoid Patches of Ice
Ice has an extremely low grip, and the tires can spin uncontrollably on it. When you are driving in snow, make sure you move clear of ice patches.
Regardless of how much you might try to avoid getting stuck in the snow, it can happen.
If it does happen and you have a car ditched in the snow, there are some things that you should do immediately.
After we discuss these, we’ll explore how to get your car out of snow without a shovel or any help.
Things to Do When Your Car is Stuck in Snow
The first and the most important thing that you need to do when your car’s stuck in the snow is do not panic.
Before you start thinking about how to dig the car out of snow, or what are the necessary tools to get the car out of snow, there are some things that you need to take care of.
1. Do not Turn the Engine Off
If you turn the engine off, it can lead to the fluids in the engine freezing. This can make it very hard to start the car again.
You need warmth in the car and the heater won’t work if the engine is off.
2. Stay Warm and Hydrated
Being stuck in the snow might last longer than you like, especially if you cannot call for help. Stay in the car, turn on the heater, and stay hydrated.
3. Clear the Exhaust
If snow is clogging the exhaust, harmful exhaust gases can make their way into the car and can be fatal. Make sure the exhaust is clear so that the waste gases can escape.
4. Do not Floor the Car
Accelerating the car hard to get it out of the snow will do more harm than good. The tires will dig into the snow, and the friction will melt it. This molten snow will freeze and turn into ice, practically freezing the car in place.
How to Get a Car Out of the Snow by Yourself
If you cannot get help and are on your own, chances are you’ll still be able to get the car out of the snow with a bit of effort. Here are some of the things that you can try.
1. Deflate the Tires
Deflate the tires. It will increase the grip and might be helpful in getting you out of the snow.
2. Shovel the Ice Around the Tires
Grab a shovel or anything that can be used to dig into the snow.
Remove snow from the front of the tires and make a ramp. This will make it possible for the tires to grip and move the car forward.
3. Melt the Ice
Salt decreases the melting point of ice and can cause it to melt quickly. Sprinkle generous amounts of salt near the tires. It can help you get the car unstuck.
4. Use Dirt to Gain Traction
Using dirt (if available), line the area in front of the tires with it. This can give the tires a bit of traction and will help you get out of the snow.
5. Go Slow
Once you get the car moving, accelerate gently. If you floor the car or try to accelerate too hard, the tires might dig into the snow again.
How To Pull a Car Out Of Snow
Pulling your car out of the snow with the help of another vehicle may not seem as simple as you might think. But, don’t panic. We have you covered.
Things You’ll Need
- Tow-line dampers
Three Simple Steps
1. Tie the Cars Up
Station the towing vehicle where it can have a better grip. Use a tow-line to link the cars. Attach the tow-line to the recovery point of the cars and not the towing hitch.
2. Start Pulling
If the towing car is a 4×4, put it in low gear. Make sure that both drivers are able to communicate during the process.
Move the car so the driver in the stuck car can feel movement. Now, stop and put the tow-line dampers on the tow-line.
The driver of the towing car needs to use as much force as possible to pull the car, while the one in the stuck car should augment that power with their engine.
Make sure that the car’s wheels don’t spin too much.
3. Keep Pulling
Once the car starts moving, keep pulling it until it is free and in a safe spot.
Before You Go
It is better to be safe than sorry. Be careful when you are driving on a snow-covered road and try to avoid getting stuck as best you can. If it happens, don’t panic! Refer back to this article.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What do you need to use to get the car out of the snow?
You can use a shovel, salt, or some dirt to get your car out of the snow if it is stuck.
What should you do if you’re stuck in the snow?
Keep the engine running, clear the exhaust, deflate the tires, and try to move the car forward in low gear.
How do you get your car unstuck from snow by yourself?
Use the traction of your car and give the tires a surface to grip. This can be done by putting dirt, bushes, or floor mats underneath them.
How do you get your car from being stuck?
The aim is to give the tires enough grip to get the car moving. Once you do that, the car will get out easily.
Can a 4×4 get stuck in snow?
Yes, 4×4 cars and trucks can also get stuck in the snow.
Does traction control help you get out of snow?
No, it does not, for the most part. It does make it easy to drive on snow and prevents getting stuck. But once you are stuck, disabling it might be the best for you.