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What to know if you get stuck in the snow

Getting stuck in the snow while you’re driving is, at best inconvenient; at worst, it can be incredibly dangerous. You could get stranded, hit by other vehicles or otherwise hurt. When driving this winter, you should know what to do if you get stuck in the snow. 

Prepare your car

Every Canadian should have an emergency kit in their car during the winter. These kits can include several items, including:

  • Flashlights
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Bottled water
  • Blankets
  • Extra clothes
  • First aid kit
  • Salt, sand or cat litter to get traction on slippery ice
  • Jumper cables
  • Shovel

These and other items can make the difference between getting out of a bad situation safely and ending up in the hospital or worse.

Before heading out, you should also check your tires, fuel level and lights. 

Have some tricks up your sleeve

Certain tricks can help you get back on the road. If your wheels are all on the ground and spinning, try engaging your vehicle’s off-road or AWD lock mode. You can also try moving the car slowly forward and backward, keeping the steering wheel straight. Doing so could flatten snow and give your tires more grip to get out. 

Another solution could be to pour down the salt, sand or litter from your emergency kit in front of your tires. If you don’t have these, try using the floor mats from your car.

If you cannot free yourself, call 911 for help. If others are around, wave them down and have them help you push your vehicle free.

However, if no one else is around and there is not a safe place you can get to, stay in your car. You can add reflective lights, coloured flags or other items to make your vehicle visible to others, but staying in your car can keep you from getting too cold or wet and keep you safe from getting hit by another car.

Another important note is that if you keep your car running periodically, keep your tailpipe clear to avoid getting carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Try to stay calm

It is easy to panic in these situations. However, staying calm can be vital. When you have emergency items in your car and know some tips for getting unstuck, it can be easier to think clearly and get yourself to safety.