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What to Do if Your Car is Stuck in Snow

Oh, the weather outside is frightful but that’s no reason to get your car stuck in snow. Before calling a tow, try our hints and tips below and we’re confident you’ll break free of this bothersome ice and snow.

car wheel stuck in snow

Before the snow settles

There are two things you can do before the snow settles and both will make the difference between being marooned in a white wonderland and driving on your merry way.

  • Winter tyres should be fitted to cars in areas that expect heavy snow. For lighter snowfall, all season tyres fitted with snow socks or chains will also work.
  • Carry a snow shovel in your boot. Most models fold into a reasonable size and fit underneath a car seat. They make digging out snow really simple and are far more effective than using the AA Atlas of Britain 2014.

Before you attempt to drive

  • Turn off the traction control. Oddly enough, this gives you traction to the drive wheels when the car is immobilised by snow. If your car is clever enough to have a ‘snow start’ mode, use it, as this will modify the traction control in much the same way.
  • Clear the path of the tyres. It’s also important to clear snow away from the exhaust pipe to ensure the gases do not build up in or around the car. Start with the drive tyres and dig snow out from the front and rear of the tyres.
  • If there is thick ice on the ground, break this up with the shovel, a screwdriver or similar tough item – a rough surface provides more traction than a slick one!

Techniques to free the car

  • Forward and back
    Drive forwards a little, drive backwards a little. Repeat this until the snow is sufficiently tamped down enough for you to drive away. If you drive a 4×4 or SUV, select low-range gearing. Listen to the engine carefully as you do this to ensure you don’t rev high and bang the clutch out as this could be dangerous. Gently, gently is the name of the game.
  • Braking
    If your vehicle is completely stationary with the drive tyres are spinning, apply a tiny bit of brake as you feather the accelerator; it may be enough to give you some much-desired traction. Don’t try this method for longer than a few seconds at a time, as it may overheat your brakes and diminish their performance until they’ve cooled.
  • Muscle
    Find someone, or preferably a group of people, to push your car on the count of three. Then apply a little gas. Before doing so, check you are in first gear (not reverse) and check again.
  • Snow chains
    Get your snow chains fitted and drive away scot free!
  • Add traction
    Roughen the surface in front of your drive wheels. Either find a grit bin and spread grit on the snow in your tyre tracks. Or, if you are at home, cat litter and cardboard will do the same job.
  • Deflate the tyres
    Flatter tyres are usually a bad thing but, when you’re stuck, extra contact surface (and therefore friction) may do the trick. Always remember to re-inflate your tyres after this procedure. This kind of hack is another good reason to always carry an electric air pump in the boot that can hook up to your cigarette lighter.

Be ready for when your car cuts loose

Always be on the ready in case your car suddenly finds traction. It’s best to be gentle when using all the above techniques, in order to avoid damage to your car, other people’s cars and your tyres.

Tyres Northampton provide and install a huge spectrum of branded tyres for cars, vans and motorcycles alike. Our professionals deliver an efficient and thorough service, and are able to deliver many types of vehicle servicing, including MOTs and exhaust and brakes servicing. To arrange a visit, or to simply find out more about us, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with our friendly team.

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