If you get stuck
If you get stuck on a rock, stump or log, survey the
situation first to determine the best way to free the
vehicle without damaging it. If youre stuck on an
object that can be moved, jack up the vehicle and
clear away the obstacle. If youre stuck on an object
that cant be moved, jack up the vehicle and fill under
the tires so that you can drive over the obstacle.
Try letting some of the air out of your tires (to about
10psi) -- just remember to air them up again as soon
as you can. (Remember that lowering tire pressure
also reduces the vehicles overall height and therefore
the vehicles ground clearance.) Lock the differential
locks (if you have them), and use as high a gear as possible.
After shoveling away the mud, dirt, sand or snow that
is blocking your tires, clear a path in the direction
youll be traveling, so the tires can get enough
traction. Carpet strips, wood, floor mats, brush,
rocks, clothing or sleeping bags can be placed as
traction aids under the tires in the direction of travel.
If you still cant get out, jack up the vehicle and fill
the area under the tires with sand, rocks, logs, brush,
packed snow or any combination of these. If the jack
sinks into the ground, use piece of wood as a base.
(Never crawl under a vehicle that is supported by a
Snow chains are not only a benefit in snow and ice,
but can work wonders in mud as well. Typically, youll
fit them on the rear wheels, especially if youre
climbing up a hill or towing. Sometimes it may be
necessary to fit them to the front or to all four wheels.
The best way to get unstuck is with a winch. A winch
takes the hard work out of vehicle recovery. It also
allows a lone vehicle a means of freeing itself.
Another vehicle can be used as an anchor, but natural
anchors, such as trees, stumps and rocks, are the
handiest. When no natural anchors are available, a
spare tire, log or any other similar object that can be
partially buried can form an anchor. It may be wise to
use several items and group them as a single anchor.
Never winch with fewer than five turns of cable
around the winch drum. With fewer turns, the cable
may break loose from the drum under heavy load.
© 2001-2008 Harald Pietschmann