Free at last

Stop spinning your wheels — you’ll only be digging yourself into a deeper rut. That’s both a poster-worthy life lesson and the No. 1 tip for freeing a car that’s mired in the snow or mud.

Instead, start by disengaging your vehicle’s traction control system, which tends to work against a driver’s efforts when there’s zero traction. Then gradually “rock” the vehicle back and forth a few inches at a time, engaging the brakes, shifting gears and repeating the process several times to gradually get unstuck.

If this doesn’t work, throw sand or cat litter under the tires for added grip; prudent motorists keep a bag in the trunk for this purpose. Otherwise wedge cardboard sheets or the car’s floor mats under the tires to help them catch; if there’s nothing else handy, try using tree branches or other organic debris. If you can’t get the vehicle free after several minutes, call a tow truck to avoid causing any mechanical damage.

— Jim Gorzelany
© CTW Features

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