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How to Get Out of Deep Snow

At some point, most drivers will find themselves stuck in the snow or ice, either whilst attempting to reach their destination or finding they are unable to get off their driveway.

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Most drivers will find themselves stuck in the snow at some point, either en route to their intended destination or perhaps trying to get off their own driveway.

Should you find yourself in this situation:

Restore Grip

Break-up and remove the snow and ice immediately surrounding the wheels. If you have a shovel, you can dig it out. If you don't have one, improvise - a screwdriver from a toolkit can be used break up the ice that's formed beneath tyres, whilst a windscreen scraper or map can be used to scrape away excess snow.

Direction Of Travel

Clear any snow that may stop you progressing in the direction that the car is about to move to enable you to build up momentum again. Ensure it isn't higher than the ground clearance of the car.

Low Gear

When moving the car use as low a gear as possible and keep the front wheels as straight as possible to minimise resistance against the snow.

The Rougher The Better

The rougher the surface, the greater the traction. So, if your wheels start to spin, stop the car and use what is available to you to increase traction.
Pieces of sacking, car floor mats, a picnic blanket or a coat can be used to restore traction (though be aware they may need to be replaced afterwards). In a pinch, you can even use fallen branches from trees or bushes.
Place whatever you are using in front of the front tyres on a front wheel drive car and the rear tyres on a rear wheel drive car before proceeding.
If this doesn't work you can try sprinkling salt, sand, or even cat litter in front of the tyres. The salt will help to melt ice, whilst the sand and cat litter will provide traction.
Also, if you have spare screenwash with a low freezing point in your car, that can be used to help melt the snow/ice.

Accelerate Gently

Making sure nobody is standing behind the tyres. Sometimes the wheels can turn whatever you put down for traction into an airborne hazard.

Stay On Familiar Ground

Once you have freed the car, if you are uncertain whether the route ahead is blocked go back in the direction you came from rather than risk the unknown. Try walking a short distance on foot first to determine the depth of the snow and whether it is safe to continue driving.

Survival Tip

Remember traction is needed at the front wheels if your car is front wheel drive car and the rear wheels if it is rear wheel drive in order to make progress. (Lofty)


Download the complete guide

Winter Survival Guide cover


Download the complete guide or read on for winter survival advice.