What To Do If Your Car Gets Stuck In Snow

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Although the kids will probably be excited at the prospect of having a snowball fight, the motorists amongst us won't be so excited by driving in the snow. If you're unlucky enough to get stuck in the snow, here are a few tips to get you moving again.

Driving in the snow essentials

At the start of the winter, pack some essentials in your car to carry with you in case you get caught out by a sudden flurry of snow. A decent snow kit should include:

  • A shovel
  • A torch
  • Blankets
  • Warm clothing
  • Packaged food with a decent use-by date
  • An ice scraper
  • A fully charged phone
  • Tyre chains
  • Snow socks

If you have these basics in your car boot, you’ll be well prepared if your car gets stuck in the snow. You’ll also be warmer, less hungry and potentially back home quicker.

Only drive in the snow if necessary

If possible, it’s best to avoid driving in the snow completely. The slippery conditions can make driving very difficult. As a result, it’s best to only make essential car journeys.

What to do if you’re stuck in the snow

If you do end up stuck in heavy snow, follow these tips to try and get your car moving again.

  • Keep calm. By panicking and trying to drive your way out, you'll only make things worse for the car. Plus small passengers may get upset if they think there's a serious problem.
  • Don't spin your tyres or move your wheels from side to side. You'll end up burying yourself deeper or overworking your clutch and engine.
  • Use a snow shovel to dig out the snow that is under your tyres. If you don't have one, then use whatever comes to hand. If the car's exhaust is covered in snow, dig this out too as this could cause your engine to cut out.
  • Use snow socks or snow chains. Place these over your tyres, taking care to follow the instructions.
  • If you can, get passengers out the car. This can help reduce weight and potentially make getting out easier. If you've got children in the car, then leaving them in their seats is advisable so they don't get cold.
  • Use traction tracks (a great alternative to snow chains) and some de-icing salt under your wheels. If you don't have these to hand, then a pair of rubber car mats might do the job - just jam them as far under your wheels as possible then try driving over them - just make sure the engine is off while you do this and that everyone is well out of the way when you try to move.
  • Call your breakdown service and wait. It’s easier said than done, but try not to drain your fuel by sitting with the engine running - wrap up with blankets instead.
  • Try and stay inside the vehicle. If you're stuck in a remote location, don't be tempted to try and walk to find help - stay with your vehicle and wait for help to arrive, or try and flag down a vehicle. Even in the UK where winters can be milder than other countries' weather can soon get worse, leaving you exposed to the elements.

Driving in the snow safety tip: If you get stuck on a snowy road, deploy your red hazard triangle (if you have one) and don a high-vis vest. If other motorists or larger vehicles are managing to get by, then you'll give them a better warning if you're blocking the way.

Planning is the key to getting through the winter months, and by stocking up in advance with Halfords wide range of winter travel and breakdown essentials, you'll be prepared for even the worst weather.

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