Since the Northeast is about to see its first winter storm of the season, this week’s safety tip offers advice on what to do when a fleet vehicle gets stuck in the snow.
When a snowstorm strikes, roadside assistance and towing providers are typically flooded with calls. The wait time can be excruciatingly long – and even worrisome if you’re stranded in an area that’s not well lighted at night.
First, you need to try “rocking out,” according to Consumer Reports. That means straightening the wheels, gently touching the gas pedal, and switching between “drive” and “reverse” to rock the vehicle back and forth. If the tires begin spinning, stop and change direction because spinning the tires just digs the vehicle in deeper. If your vehicle transmission has a winter mode, be sure to engage that. Once the vehicle starts to move out, don’t stop until you reach solid ground.
But if your attempts to rock out repeatedly fail, it’s time for Plan B. Try to create a path several feet long for each wheel. Go to your vehicle’s winter emergency kit (you remembered to pack that, right?) and use the kit’s shovel to clear away the snow by each wheel. If you didn’t pack a shovel, you can try using what’s available such as an ice scraper, a piece of wood, the base of a car jack or even a hubcap.
Then you need to add traction by spreading the emergency kit’s sand or cat litter in the tracks, especially near the drive wheels, Consumer Reports advises. If you have no sand or cat litter, then try using a floor mat (laid nap-side down).
However, if you don't feel safe getting out of the car, then call for roadside assistance and hang tight.
To view a video featuring advice from AAA, click on the photo or link below the headline. The report originally aired early this year.