Winter Driving 101 and 5 Things to Do When Your Car Is Stuck in Snow

  • Keep supplies like a shovel, blankets, flares, and sand in your car
  • Go to an empty parking lot to get a feel for how your car drives in the snow
  • Getting unstuck may just require a little help from a stranger

Today, it’s winter driving 101 on MotorBiscuit. Here, we’ll cover the best tips and tricks you can use in your car, truck, or SUV to get out of a snow-covered jam this winter. Getting suck with snow up to your elbows is all too common in the winter months, and we’re going to cover everything from the obvious to the less conventional methods to use when you get your car stuck in the snow.

Winter Driving 101: A car drives down a snowy road
Winter Driving Tips 101.01: Snow tires are a must | Jan Pitman via Getty Images

Winter Driving 101.1: How do I learn to drive in winter?

So, let’s start with the obvious and work our way down to the nitty-gritty. Simply put, learn to drive in the snow. Go to an empty lot, see what happens when you stand on the brakes, slam on the gas, jerk the wheel, or other. Knowing what your car will do in an emergency situation is half the battle. Moreover, in doing so, you’ll learn if you need winter tires (you do) or to replace your brakes to help you stay safe.

RELATED: The 5 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a 2022 Toyota Camry

Ask for help and push

A man pushes a car stuck in the snow during a blizzard
Sometimes, the most obvious solution is the best | Spencer Platt via Getty Images

Winter driving tips 101.2: When your car is stuck in the snow, the most obvious solution is to ask a passerby for a hand. Throwing your back out in a blizzard pushing your car sucks. More to the point, you can’t steer if you’re pushing, and we guarantee the insurance company will take issue if that leads to an accident.

RELATED: 5 AWD Cars with Best Gas Mileage According to TrueCar

Don’t slam on the gas, you’ll get nowhere

The gas pedals of a Volkswagen product at the Geneva motor show
Gassing it will only get you more stuck in the snow | Harold Cunningham via Getty Images

Winter driving tips 101.3: Supposing you are the one in the car, and not breaking your back in the cold, make sure you’re not slamming on the gas. Unfortunately, the only thing this does is dig a bigger hole without getting you unstuck. Plus, you don’t want to yank the car out from under your helpful passerby assistant.

Keep sand or cat litter in your car to help with traction

Sand sits under snow
All that sand and dirt sitting under the snow is good for something | Patrick T. Fallon via Getty Images

Winter driving 101.4: Make sure you keep some sand or cat litter around. A few cups can save you an expensive tow bill. In a pinch, you can also use dirt from the roadside. The object here is to make sure your car has adequate traction to escape the snowbank you expertly planted your Subaru in.

You can rock your car free

A car travels down an empty winding road in winter
Getting stuck on a lonely road is a worst-case scenario | Jan Woitas via Getty Images

Winter driving 101.5: Failing any of the above, your can “rock” your car free. This can be done in two ways. First, use your car’s drive and reverse gears to build some momentum. Second, have your passerby help you rock the car to and fro while you man the gears.

Any of these tips ought to be enough to get your ride out of 99.9999% of jams, but always keep a shovel, flares, and a warm blanket in your car over winter. Just in case. Good luck, and stay safe this winter.

RELATED: The 5 Best Car Trends Every Manufacturer Needs to Be Following