8 Things to Do When Your Car is Stuck in the Snow - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Mar 1, 2023

8 Things to Do When Your Car is Stuck in the Snow

When winter strikes in New York State, you can be sure that the snow will soon follow. Despite the frosty conditions, sometimes you may need to brave the elements and drive in the winter. Unfortunately for drivers, the icy and wet conditions mean it is common for cars to get stuck in the snow. If you find your car stuck in the snow there are a few tactics you can try to get back on the road, but the first and most important thing to do is remain calm.


Do you know what you should do when your car is stuck in the snow? Keep reading to find out 8 things to do to get your car out of the snow.

1. Clear a Path Around Your Tires

The first step to breaking your way out of the snow is to clear the snow and ice away from each of your tires. Remove the snow at least a foot from the front, sides, and rear of the vehicle. Depending on how much snow there is, you might have to shovel underneath the car so it is not resting on a layer of snow. During the snowy months, it is a good idea to keep a snow shovel in your car because you never know when you might need it.

2. The Rocking Technique

When you are stuck in the snow and your tires are spinning, the best way to get traction is by straightening the wheel. Although your first instinct might be to step on the gas, doing so doesn’t create any momentum and instead your wheels will just spin in place. Try to back your car up slowly and pull forward repeatedly to create momentum through a rocking motion until the snow is packed down around your tires. Once the snow is packed down, the tires should have enough traction to get out.

3. The Braking Technique

If your tires are spinning, they have no traction against the snow. Try pushing the brake as you are hitting the gas to decrease the spinning and to give more power to the tire. Putting your vehicle in its lowest gear can also increase the power going to the wheels. This process can overheat your brakes, so don’t attempt this method for more than a few seconds at a time.

4. Add Traction Under Your Tires

If you are still unable to get your car out of the snow, adding traction to your tires might help. Tire chains are a great option, but few people carry chains. After digging away snow and ice from around the tires, try dropping handfuls of sand, dirt, salt, or even cat litter in front and behind the tires to improve traction. Placing a floor mat under your tires may also create the traction you need.

5. Find Someone to Push Your Car

Finding a couple people to help push your car can be an easy way to get it moving in the snow. To add momentum, gently press the gas while your car is being pushed. Don’t take your foot off the gas when the car starts to move until you are on firmer ground. Always make sure you are in a clear area and remain aware of other people’s whereabout to avoid any accidents.

6. Turn Off Traction Control

Traction control keeps your wheels from spinning too fast on slippery surfaces. When your tires start to spin on ice or snow, traction control cuts engine power and reduces the speed of the tires. However, traction control can make it more difficult to break out of the snow. By turning off traction control, wheels are more likely to get themselves out of the snow.

7. Check The Exhaust Pipes

Whether you are stuck in deep snow, or your car is covered in ice, it is important you make sure the exhaust pipes aren’t covered. When the vehicle is running, the exhaust pipes release carbon monoxide. If the pipes are clogged, the buildup of carbon monoxide could leak into your car and contaminate the air.

8. Emergency Roadside Assistance

If you have tried all the possible steps to get your vehicle out of the snow and it is still stuck, don’t be afraid to call for extra help. NYCM Insurance provides Emergency Roadside Assistance for your towing and roadside needs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Getting your car stuck in the snow can be an inconvenience but these tactics can help you when you are in a pinch. Snowy and icy conditions are bound to happen during winter in New York State so always be prepared. Having snow tires on your vehicle can lead to safer driving on slippery roads. Are you unsure if you should install winter tires this season? Check out the link below for 4 commonly asked questions and answers for snow tires.