How To Ask Someone to Pull Your Car Out of the Snow
Mar 17, 2021 at 9:00 am #3705038
Companion forum thread to: How To Ask Someone to Pull Your Car Out of the Snow
Sometimes the best skill is humbly asking for help. Here’s a story about my experience getting unstuck when driving snowy backcountry roads.Mar 17, 2021 at 9:15 am #3705039Michael BBPL Member
Fun story. I should put a tow rope in my car, although I would not likely take my GTI to that much snow 😁Mar 17, 2021 at 9:20 am #3705041
Glad you enjoyed it! Writing it was definitely more fun than experiencing it.
I’d had the tow rope in my car for five years before finally needing to use it, but I was really glad to have it. A tow rope is one piece of gear where if I wore it out within a few years I’d be a bit worried about my driving habits : )Mar 17, 2021 at 11:32 am #3705051Chris RBPL Member
Fact of life up here. Though I am better at driving in blizzard conditions than I used to be. Deep snow is a pain as the chassis starts to float and you lose traction. Had this happen even with my Dodge Ram. On the plus side there is no shortage of guys with very large pick-ups eager to show how much pulling power their truck has.
Suggest you get a “recovery” rope rather than a tow rope. They have some stretch so less likely to pull the front (or back) of your vehicle off. It’s worth knowing where your tow points are before you get stuck; saves looking like a complete idiot when someone does offer to haul you out.Mar 17, 2021 at 12:12 pm #3705054
Suggest you get a “recovery” rope rather than a tow rope. They have some stretch so less likely to pull the front (or back) of your vehicle off. It’s worth knowing where your tow points are before you get stuck; saves looking like a complete idiot when someone does offer to haul you out.
Good point about the recovery rope vs. tow rope. Luckily this was a pretty low-force extraction with little yanking involved.
And good tip about knowing where the tow points are. I’d gotten familiar with those from hauling canoes on my Element, and they’re fairly obvious, but it definitely would’ve added more of a headache if I was trying to find them for the first time. Especially since they were sunk into the snowing. Knowing right where to dig was helpful.Mar 17, 2021 at 1:17 pm #3705064Dena KelleyBPL Member
@eagleriverdeeLocale: Eagle River, Alaska
I recently got stuck at a trailhead outside of cell range and it was the first time I actually used my InReach for more than just “I’m ok” messages to my husband. I was really pleased with the InReach- I had a response from my husband within 1 minute of sending him my help request. Obviously the satellites were positioned in my favor that day. A lot of people stopped to check on me. Oddly, anyone with a vehicle remotely capable of pulling me out drove right on by. People in cars stopped to see if they could call someone for me. The hubs showed up in about an hour with a snatch strap and yanked me right out.Mar 17, 2021 at 1:41 pm #3705066RobBPL Member
There is a pretty cool recovery rope they sell at Dutchwaregear. It is an adjustable whoopie sling made out of 7/16″ amsteel and has a breaking strength of over 15,000 lbs.Mar 17, 2021 at 2:48 pm #3705073Chris RBPL Member
My opinion but while Amsteel is fine as a replacement winch cable I wouldn’t want to use it for vehicle to vehicle recovery where the load could potentially be applied unevenly. Just search for a “kinetic recovery rope”. Get some shackles while you are at it.
I’ve been stuck a few times at work, had to winch myself out a few times, and it always looks better if you have your own rigging rather than relying on someone else.Mar 17, 2021 at 3:24 pm #3705077
A piece of old climbing rope and knot knowledge works well. Stretch in the system can be your friend and allow the pulling car to more gently get a little run at it. Be careful when using shackles, cables and other metal bits. If something gives way those parts can be lethal missiles.
Like a lot of stuff, its good to get some training before you need it.
Kudos to the author for having chains and shovel. Not common anymore since all wheel drives are ubiquitous (but knowing how to get unstuck is not.)Mar 17, 2021 at 4:23 pm #3705084David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
I’ll add: have a beater CCF pad to kneel/lie on while dealing with chains or a flat tire.
In freeze-thaw conditions, sometimes you can get stuck on just a bit of sloped ice (mostly in one’s driveway or a parking lot). Use old-style milk cartons or the larger cardboard containers of Goldfish, fill them with salted sand, and staple them closed. Then, when you need to sand an area, you’ve got a decent amount and the container has a pour spout.
My instructions for getting unstuck in Alaska: attach one end of the tow strap to your vehicle. Hold the other end where passing cars can see it while looking like an idiot. Make it clear what you need*. The 2nd or 3rd along will pull you out.
I had a boss who’d take her AWD Audi over the pass to Anchorage in the winter because then she could shrug apologetically at stuck cars, but if she went in her F-250, she was obligated to stop and help.
A 3-cylinder 4WD Subaru Justy is decently capable in the snow and can be pulled out by ANYTHING else on the road. Or pushed out by a couple of grade-schoolers.
* Wave jumper cables around, point to open gas fill port, etc.Mar 18, 2021 at 9:42 am #3705187
Kneeling with hands clasped in prayer often worked for hitch hiking.
An International Scout can pull a 64 passenger school bus out of 1 foot of Kansas mud.
Corb Lund Song The Truck Got Stuck.Mar 19, 2021 at 1:11 pm #3705382Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
“An International Scout can pull a 64 passenger school bus out of 1 foot of Kansas mud.”
Well were they not built by a tractor company (International Harvester)?
I had parks maintenance and landscaping job in high school where the supervisors used to drive us kids around in an International Travel All (?).Mar 21, 2021 at 9:40 am #3705632marvin bargBPL Member
@grampa_kiltLocale: British Columbia
Just had to say how much I enjoyed the article and comments. Now that my ‘family’ vehicle is a GMC 1500 4×4, I’m in the same boat as the woman from Anchorage, but without minding the stopping. I’m retired now and it’s time to pay forward all the times a 4×4 pulled my VW Jetta out of a high centered situation. This article also reminded me to get a set of chains for my GMC. Someday I will need them to pull a car out of a snow covered ditch with only an snow covered, icy road for traction. Now how do I know that…? GKMar 21, 2021 at 3:06 pm #3705667Roger CaffinBPL Member
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Which is why I have an 8 ton Warn Winch on the front.
CheersMar 22, 2021 at 8:01 am #3705741
My favorite set of chains were cut down from dump truck chains by my Grandad. Links made from steel the size of my little finger. Not for highway driving, but very deep snow or steep ice. I also have some cable chains for highway when they require them during early season storms over the passes before snow tires are on.Mar 22, 2021 at 3:02 pm #3705798Roger CaffinBPL Member
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Winch, plus chains, diamond on front and ladder on rear. Slow speed, low ratio.
CheersMar 23, 2021 at 7:19 am #3705912Ian ClarkBPL Member
@chinditsLocale: Cntrl ROMO
You did well by including have no expectations when you ask for help. The area I once patrolled had ranches as the last residence on a dirt road. At one time rendering help was a reflex and people recreating far from town was rare. Now anytime of year people with expendable incomes and multiple days of leisure time are everywhere in country where a working ranch has neither of those luxuries. You might have better luck asking to use their landline to call for help rather than ask them for their help. Be prepared to hear how your people have put an undue burden on the food producers by reintroduction of predators and limiting access to range. It is fair to say we are the foreigners intruding into their way of life for generations and not just a stuck vehicle. And of course, we are not the first nor will we be the last that will be at the mercy of the last ranch on a long dirt road.
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