Help, my car has been swallowed by a snow bank!

Car Snow Bank


Okay, so maybe it’s more of a snow drift but you get the idea.  How do you get out?!

–    ALWAYS make sure that your tailpipe is not buried beneath that white stuff.  We don’t need a build-up of deadly gasses building up in the vehicle.

–    Shovel away as much snow as you can from around the vehicle and tires.  Take the time to break up the ice around the tires if you can.  This is a good time to remind you to think about carrying a shovel or even a plastic trowel in your vehicle.  A screwdriver or just about any sharp object can be used to break ice.  Take the surrounding snow down below the ground clearance of your vehicle.

–    Lay down traction gadgets such as a metal frame or even your floor mats in front of the drive wheels.  Note that the floor mats will probably be ruined after you do this.  You can also try weeds or small branches to gain some traction.  Be gentle with the accelerator and make sure that no one is standing behind the drive wheels.

–    If you have traction control, now is the time to engage it.  The drive wheels may not turn at the same speed.  You want the tires to go around smoothly without dragging the drive tires against pavement.  You need to get some traction to both wheels.

–    Pressing the brakes slightly will decrease the tire spinning and help increase the torque to the other wheel so that both are working to pull the vehicle free.  Remember that doing this can overheat your brakes, increasing stopping distance.  Use caution while driving until they have cooled down.

–    Spread some road salt, sand or cat litter in front of the drive wheels.  Now might be a good time to think about owning a cat (wink).  The constant spinning of the tires will create some ice that works against your efforts and salt will help melt that obstacle.  Windshield wiper fluid can also be used to melt the ice but is dangerous to animals that might ingest it.

–    Drive straight.  Wheels that are straight make it much easier to get free of the snow.  Contrary to this, if your vehicle is front-wheel drive, turn the wheels side to side just a bit to get a bit of traction.  Just get back to straight before finally pulling away.

–    Start off in a low gear and gently accelerate until the wheels start to slip the back up until the slip and repeat until you are free.

–    Let a little air out of the tires.  This might gain you a bit more traction. Stop when the tires start to get visibly lower, especially if you don’t have a way to refill them.

Rock the car by shifting quickly from forward to reverse until you have some room to drive clear. This can overload the transmission, so leave this step as a last resort.