What To Do If Your Car Gets Stuck In Snow

Image for What To Do If Your Car Gets Stuck In Snow article

Getting your car out of the snow

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

Be prepared

At the start of the winter, pack some essentials to carry with you in case you get caught out by a sudden flurry of flakes. A decent snow kit should include a shovel, torch, blankets, warm clothing, packaged food with a decent sell-by date, an ice scraper, a fully charged phone and any additional winter kit like tyre chains and snow socks (for your tyres, not your feet!).

If you have these basics in the boot, then you'll be warmer, less hungry and potentially back home quicker than other less well-prepared folks!

Don't make the journey unless it's absolutely necessary

Prevention is the best cure, so if it's just a quick journey to the shops or a family outing, it might be better to break out a boardgame or call into the office to arrange a work from home day.

If you're completely stuck

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.
  • If you have bought any snow socks or snow chains, place them over your tyres, taking care to follow the instructions.
  • If you can get all passengers out of the car, then this can help to 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.
  • By placing a set of traction tracks (a great alternative to snow chains) and some de-icing salt under your wheels, you'll be on the move in snow time! 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.
  • If you're having no luck at all, then call your breakdown service and wait. Easier said than done, but try not to drain your fuel by sitting with the engine running - wrap up with blankets instead.
  • 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.

Safety tip: If you get stuck on a 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 touring kits, you'll be prepared for even the worst weather.