How to Free a Car Stuck on Ice or Snow

by Editorial Team

Drivers living in snowy regions quickly become pros at maneuvering cars through deep snow. The rest of us may need a little help freeing a car that gets stuck in snow. Try these maneuvers, one at a time.

Step 1

Put the transmission into four-wheel drive (if your car has it).

Step 2

Shift into the lowest gear available.

Step 3

If the car won't go forward, put it into reverse and try backing up.

Step 4

Turn the steering wheel slightly and try driving in a different direction.

Step 5

Grab your shovel and remove as much snow as you can from in front of all the wheels.

Step 6

Determine which wheel(s) are slipping by having a friend look at the wheels while you step on the accelerator. Place sand, salt, dirt, cat litter or a piece of old carpet in front of the slipping wheel(s).

Step 7

Ask friends or passersby to push while you slowly depress the gas pedal. Make sure nobody is standing in front of the car. Be careful--accelerating too much makes the tires spin and heats up the snow underneath, turning it into ice.

Step 8

Be prepared to steer and brake after your wheels gain traction.

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