Rock Talk

How to Get a Car Out of Snow

Last updated on May 16th, 2017 at 02:40 pm

I grew up driving on icy, snow-packed Michigan roads. My car has been snowed in, plowed in or otherwise stuck in a snowbank or parking spot on more than one occasion. I’m now a proud East Coast resident and hopefully my experience can help you out. Here are a few of my own tips, along with some from other sources, on how to get a car out of snow.

Clear the Tailpipe

Before you start your car, make sure the tailpipe is free and clear of snow. A blocked exhaust pipe can lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide.

Clean Your Car

If your car was plowed in after a snowfall, chances are your car is also covered in snow. Before you do anything to free your vehicle, make sure to remove all ice and snow from it.

Dig Away What You Can

If your winter car emergency kit includes a shovel, put it to work! Clear the snow and ice away from the area around your tires and make a path for your car out of the snow.

Drive Out

At this point, it’s worth a shot. Make sure you have enough clearance to drive safely out. I usually had the most success if I was driving out with my wheels straight, instead of turned.

Tires slipping? Add Salt or Kitty Litter.

Or any other material that might provide traction, like sand. I don’t know if most people carry this. Back in the day, I did not. I’ve matured (some) and now carry a small jar of salt in my trunk.

Traction Devices

This tip requires from advance preparation on your part. There are some nifty gadgets out there that may help if snow and ice have immobilized your car. Snow socks and ZipGrips are just a few devices available. Make sure to follow all instructions for using these products. If you have experience with these devices, let us know in the comments.

Last Resort

If you’re trying to drive out (not reverse out), place your floor mats, treads down, underneath and in front if the tires that are slipping. I have successfully used this to free my car from ice. However, the floor mat shot out from the tire and was very dirty afterward.

Plymouth Rock wants to know about your tried and tested tips for how to get a car out of snow. Let us know in the comments.

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