Last updated: August 2023

Tips for Getting a Car Unstuck from Snow

While nothing is cozier than a gorgeous snowfall when you’re nestled inside, getting your car out of a bank of snow is another story. Armed with these tips, plus some essential supplies, you can help make sure you don’t get stuck in the driveway, in a parking lot, or on the side of the road when the weather turns frosty and unpredictable.

“Rock” your car back and forth

You’ve probably seen people with their cars stuck in snow or mud, spinning their tires like mad. Here’s a pro-tip… avoid this at all costs! Spinning your tires could actually dig them deeper into the snow and cause tire damage. Instead, gently rock your car back and forth by slowly accelerating, reversing, and so on. The key is to carefully gain traction while avoiding “the spins.” If your tires do start spinning, change direction with the steering wheel.

Use some elbow grease and start digging

If it seems like you’re getting nowhere from behind the wheel, it’s time to get out and start shoveling some of the snow and ice out from around your tires. The slush and muck around them may be making them spin, so if you can dig them out by hand that could help get your car unstuck.

This brings us to another crucial piece of snow sense – make sure you keep a warm coat, gloves, and a shovel in your car during the winter months! You really don’t want to be stranded in a snowbank, shivering in a t-shirt and house shoes while trying to kick snow out from around your tires. You’ll wish you had been better prepared!

Add traction with sand, kitty litter, or cardboard

Once you see the very first snowflake on your weather forecast, throw a bag of sand, kitty litter, or some old cardboard in your trunk. If you find yourself stuck, these can all be used to help your tires gain traction in slippery conditions. Spread the sand or kitty litter on the snow and ice surrounding the tire to add a bit of grit and make it easier for your tires to grip the surface. You can use cardboard in the same way. Place it in front of and/or behind the tires and then try the rocking maneuver again. And if you aren’t prepared with extra supplies? You can actually pull out your car’s floor mats and stick them under the front of your tires to gain a similar amount of traction, says AAMCO.

Limit your driving during the worst snowstorms

Even if you have decades of winter driving under your belt, listen to the weather forecasters when they advise you to stay off the roads. A light dusting can quickly turn into a major blizzard in a matter of minutes, and you don’t want to get stuck in scary weather trying to run errands that could’ve been put off.

Enlist help

For the times when you just can’t get unstuck, there’s always roadside assistance with benefits like 24-hour emergency towing, jump starts, and fluid delivery. Learn more about the perks of adding roadside assistance to your Direct Auto policy and talk to an agent today! Call 1-877-GO-DIRECT (877-463-4732) to get the inside scoop on how one of these plans pays for itself after just one use.

For additional details and disclaimers, please see our Terms of Use.

Find a Store

Enter ZIP code to find a store near you.

Start Auto Quote

Enter ZIP code to start your quote.