No one wants to get stuck in the snow, but it is winter and it does happen, even to highly-experienced drivers. Luckily, these tips can help you get back on the road quickly and safely.
Don’t Slam on the Brakes
If you feel your vehicle’s drifting off the road, don’t slam on the brakes. This can cause the rear end to swerve and could even send the vehicle into a spin or facing oncoming traffic. Brake slowly, turn slowly, and if unavoidable drive into the snow.
Don’t Floor It
If you end up in a snow bank, your first reaction might be to floor the gas hoping you’ll plow your vehicle out of the snow. Unfortunately, power isn’t usually what frees a vehicle stuck in snow. You might create a bigger problem since the friction can turn the snow to ice.
Clear a Path
Hopefully, you have a well-stocked emergency kit in the trunk of your vehicle which includes a shovel. If not, clear away a few feet of snow and ice in front of and behind your vehicle’s tires with a found object or with hands. Also dig out any snow under the vehicle that could prevent it from moving.
If you’re not wearing gloves, wrap your hands in whatever you can find such as a rag, jacket, blanket, or scarf.
Rock the Vehicle
Your vehicle is in a rut and the best way to free it is through momentum. Start by putting the car into drive. Accelerate slowly and when the front tires reach the edge of the snow, the vehicle will rise slightly. Brake briefly, slide the vehicle into reverse, and let it slide back down. Repeat this sequence to create a rocking rhythm. Eventually, you should be able to free yourself from the rut.
If you’re still stuck after rocking the vehicle multiple times, look around for something to put under the tires. A couple pieces of old wood, salt, dirt, sand, or even kitty litter could be all you need to If you still can’t get your car free when you rock the vehicle again.
If your vehicle’s equipped with traction control, switch it off. This computer-controlled system monitors wheel slippage. If it senses one wheel spinning faster, it applies the anti-lock brakes to the wheel and cuts engine power. That’s certainly not going to help you get out of the snow.
Fortunately, people are pretty helpful in most snowy areas. They may have sand, kitty litter, or even tire chains to help free your car. If not, people power will often do the trick.
Accept helping hands and use the same rocking motion when you move the vehicle. Hopefully their extra oomph will get rock you out of the rut and back on the road again.
Understand Insurance Coverage
If all else fails, you may need emergency roadside assistance. It’s an inexpensive addition to your Rhode Island auto insurance policy and can include services such as towing, flat tire repair, lockout help, battery charging, fuel delivery, and in some cases, mechanical repairs.
Winter snow and ice can also lead to accidents so it is very important you carry sufficient coverage. State minimums only provide bare bones protection and do not offer adequate protection.
Good coverage including emergency roadside assistance is more affordable than you might think. It provides peace of and can get you back on the road quickly, even when it’s snowy and icy.