While snow can be a massive playground for children and adults alike, it can be a problem while driving. Snowy terrain absorbs your car’s traction. Hence, your car can get stuck in the snow, which is a common occurrence during the cold winter. Preparing well ahead of time can prevent you from experiencing a lot of headaches and trouble. Here are some things you can do to avoid getting stuck in the snow while driving:
Tires are a determining factor of how well the car will fare on a certain type of terrain because they provide traction and help move your vehicle smoothly. Snow tires have a larger gap than conventional tires; their tread design increases the traction on snow and ice. Additionally, they can withstand cold temperatures much better as well. These features make them ideal for driving in snowy areas. While all-season tires also offer better performance on snow than conventional tires, they can’t keep up with snow tires’ performance. If you live in an area with rough snowy winter which subsides for a couple of months, it’s a good idea to have two separate sets of tires, one for summer and one for winter. However, if you live in an area where snow is harsh all over the year, you can opt for studded snow tires. Metallic studs present within the tread of these tires can dig into the snow and provide significantly better traction. Just keep in mind that these studs can damage the road since they are tough on the road. Moreover, local government might restricts its use in some places. All in all, snow tires are a must if you want to drive comfortably on snowy terrain.
If you park your car normally and leave it there for some time, snow or ice can build up around the tires. This can jam your tires in place, preventing you from taking off easily. Instead, drive back and forth for a while before you leave your car in the parking spot. This will clear or minimize the snow buildup near your tires and create a clear set of tracks. So, when you drive next time, your tires can easily gain momentum and move without getting stuck in the snow. However, this can be tougher if the snowfall is too heavy or you will come back after several hours as snow will build up again. In that case, it’s useful to have a shovel or another digging tool around to scrape the snow away from your tires. Parking properly ensures you can drive away easily when you return and eliminates the hassle of having to scrape snow away from your tires laboriously.
If your car is not moving and your tires keep spinning in a place, then immediately apply the brakes. Or else, you will dig yourself deeper into the snow. In such a case, having a traction aid in your car would be extremely helpful. Place them as far as you can with the grip side under the driving tires and accelerate slowly in the respective direction. If your car uses front-wheel drive, place them in your front two tires and if your car uses rear-wheel drive, place them in your rear two tires. The traction aid acts as a sturdy surface for your tires to get the necessary traction to gain momentum. This is a useful and compact tool you can get for a relatively low price, giving you the much-needed helping hand.
Snow chains are equipment that you can install on your tires to increase traction and traverse snowy terrain. Refer to the owner’s manual to see which type of snow chains are compatible with your car’s tires. If your car uses a two-wheel drive system, use the snow chains on the respective drive axle. For a four-wheel drive, you’ll need to use the snow chains on all the tires. Snow chains are louder and affect the car’s handling. Thus, you need to limit your speed to a certain extent (usually 30 mph) to avoid damaging the chains and compromising your own safety. Note that snow chains should not be used on pavement. They can cause damage to both your tires and the road. Check if snow chains are permitted where you live. They might be cumbersome to install and remove, but their utility is beneficial. Carry gloves and car mats as well if you intend to use snow chains so you can easily work with them.
Deflate your tires
Know ahead of time that deflating your tire isn’t a safe practice, especially after switching to the pavement. This is more of a last resort if everything else fails. Deflating your tires slightly puts more of your tire in contact with the ground, thus increases the traction. If you are driving for a short distance, this is a viable option. Just be sure to refill them quickly and keep your traveling distance short. Driving deflated tires not only damage your tires but can also endanger your life. Moreover, maintaining the tire pressure can help your car utilize the fuel more efficiently.
Call for help if you get stuck in the snow for some reason, even after using the above methods. A tow company can help you recover the vehicle at a certain price. After recovering the vehicle, you can good to go. Another alternative might be calling friends or family to help you or pick you up. If the situation doesn’t seem too dire, try asking bypassers for help. People usually offer help when they see another person in distress. It is not like you’re guilt-tripping them into helping you. With enough muscle help, you may be able to get the car out of its stuck position. Alternatively, if you come across other people with stuck cars, you should try offering them help.