Car stuck in the mud or snow? Here’s what to do
Many people who have been off-roading have also been stuck in the mud at some point. Stuck vehicles can also be a problem for people who live in a snowy climate and can become stuck in snow berms. These incidents can be frustrating, especially if you don’t know how to get your vehicle unstuck. Check out these tips for getting your car unstuck — and knowing when it’s time to get help from an expert.
Tips for getting your car unstuck
- Don’t stop. If you feel yourself sliding into snow or mud, keep the vehicle moving if possible. Any forward motion is better than coming to a complete stop.
- Don’t spin the wheels. Once you are stuck, don’t stomp down on the gas pedal and spin the wheels — you’ll only make the situation worse. This will only dig you in deeper and lessen your chance of an exit.
Shift to low. Shift your vehicle into the lowest gear so you have more control.
- Rock your vehicle forwards and backwards. Slowly roll the vehicle backwards in reverse, then shift to drive and roll it forward. Doing this repeatedly can often provide enough momentum to get you unstuck.
- Use traction. Add traction under your tires in the direction you are wanting to move. Rubber mats, small branches, and sand are all decent methods for adding traction. If you live in an area where getting stuck is a common problem, keep sand or kitty litter in your vehicle for this purpose.
- Stay straight. Make sure the tires are pointed straight ahead. Turning the tires will place more stress on them and make it harder to move.
- Dig. If all else fails, dig yourself out. If you don’t have a shovel in your vehicle, look for a board, stick, or a plastic cup to get the mud and snow out from under your vehicle. Make sure to dig a long ramp that can get your vehicle onto solid ground, rather than a rut that you’ll stay stuck in.
If you’ve gotten stuck before, you know that there may come a point where no amount of rocking, traction, or shoveling will free you. This is when it’s time to admit defeat and call for help.
Deciding who to call
Each instance of a stuck vehicle is unique. Weather conditions, vehicle location, and vehicle type are all factors that should be taken into consideration. A qualified tow truck driver will have experience in these situations, and also have the proper equipment needed for the extraction.
Choosing the wrong towing company can be just as bad as having an inexperienced friend perform your vehicle extraction. Don’t just call the the first tow truck company that shows up in your Google search. Look at towing company reviews and make sure the company is reliable. When you call a towing company to respond to your incident, don’t be afraid to ask questions to help you feel confident that you are in good hands.
Inquire about services
Not all tow truck companies are created equally, which means you’ll need to ensure that the company you call offers extraction services. Some towing companies will not leave paved roadways to venture out to find you in a field. Those companies that are willing to come find you will be armed with a complete inventory of winching supplies.
Additionally, make sure the company will cover any damages incurred to your vehicle during the extraction.
Ask about experience
A reputable towing company will not be offended if you inquire about the driver’s experience level; instead, they will understand what a big investment you have in your vehicle. The driver should be comfortable with different types of extractions and not be scared to use different methods.
Ask about response times
No one wants to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with their vehicle, but certain circumstances may necessitate a quicker response time. If the weather is cold and continuing to drop, it can create an urgent situation. The same is true if you are stuck in the middle of nowhere as the sun is setting.
Ask the towing company how long you can expect to wait. Find a company that has emergency response times and can get to you before the situation takes a turn for the worse. A reputable company will do all they can to make sure they get to you quickly.
Ask about pricing
It is best to ask for an estimate of cost before you receive the service, to guarantee you won’t be surprised by the number.
The decision to call for help should not be taken lightly. You are putting trust in another individual to take care of your vehicle. If at any time the company you are speaking with does not make you feel confident with their services, call a different company.
Ideally, it’s best to plan ahead and be prepared with the name and number of a towing company you know you can trust. Don’t wait until you find yourself in an emergency situation to do your research! Henry’s Towing is a recognized towing and recovery industry leader and we are proud to continue to provide safe, reliable and professional service for individual and commercial customers in and around the Springfield Missouri area.