How to handle the Winter Snow Drift Blues

December 31, 2020 - 6 minutes read


How to Get Your Car Out of a Snow Drift

With winter’s grasp firmly upon us in the Milwaukee area, the issue of getting stuck becomes more prominent in our daily lives. Whether you are just slipping a little or the wheels are buried to the axles, these 8 tips on how to get your car unstuck are not only helpful, but can prove to be a lifesaver. 

1 – Use Traction Aids – Travel with a bag of kitty litter, rock salt, or sand, plus a shovel. Sprinkle the kitty litter, rock salt, or sand in front of and behind the wheels.

2 – Rock your car free of the snow – Carefully switching from drive to reverse can help dislodge some of the snow around your wheels. Doing this several times builds momentum for the vehicle, often getting it out of the rut it is stuck in. Once you are over the hump and rolling in one direction, power out of the mess until you are on solid ground.

3 – Let some air out of your tires – When you just can’t get the grip, try letting some air out of the tires. This makes a wider contact patch and can give you the necessary grip to get out. Just don’t forget to reinflate the tires to the proper specification as soon as possible. Until you get the tires reinflated, keep the speed down so you don’t ruin your tires.

4 – Ask others to help push your car – If you have other people in your car, or friendly onlookers who can help, simply pushing your car out of the snow can be an easy solution. Gently press the gas while the car is being pushed to add additional momentum. Safety always comes first, so make sure you’re in forward gear and the ground isn’t too slippery for helpers to push. Using snow chains can also help create traction under your tires, making it easier to move through snow and ice.

5 – Turn off traction control – This one might seem counter-intuitive, but when you are stuck and need power to the wheels, any slipping will cut the power right when you need it. Push the traction control button to turn it off. Some vehicles require you to push and hold the button for several seconds. With this off, you will be able to spin the tires all day.

6 – Don’t spin the wheels – When you are stuck and your tires are just spinning, stop. Unless you are on solid ground (concrete or asphalt), stomping the pedal and spinning the wheels is just going to make it worse.

7 – Use a low gear – Make sure your automatic transmission is shifted into the lowest gear. For manual transmissions, you actually want to shift into a higher gear, such as 3rd or 4th, and use the clutch to control the spin. There will be less shock on the tires and you will have more control to keep the tires from spinning.

8 – Slowly press on the accelerator to allow the tires to gain traction – Use your throttle sparingly and in the right way. If too much power is overpowering the tires and snow, use part throttle. You would be surprised how less power might just get you out.

How to Handle Being Stuck in a Snow Drift

Some drivers, despite their best efforts, cannot avoid getting stuck or are unable to escape a snowdrift. If that’s the case, be sure to stay safe. Keep blankets, non-perishable food, and water in the car, along with other important items you may include in a car emergency kit.

Also, don’t leave your car running, though you may turn it on to charge your phone. You can also turn it on for a few minutes every fifteen minutes to stay warm. Otherwise, turn off the engine to save gas.

Another necessary precaution is to check the tail pipe to make sure snow is not piling up and putting you in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. Do this regularly.

And finally, stay put. No matter how tempting it is to walk, don’t do it unless you can see a gas station or other business just a few minutes away. Getting lost in the cold without shelter can put you in an even more precarious situation.

If you have been injured due to a snowy car accident, let us help! Call Jacobson, Schrinsky & Houck in Milwaukee today at (414) 223-4444 to have one of our caring lawyers come out to meet you. Get car accident help today. There is no fee until we win.

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