Traveling in the winter means you could run into some inclement weather. If you aren’t properly prepared and lack the know-how, having a snowbound car could become a dangerous situation.

The next time you’re struggling with a snowbound car, follow these seven steps to get back on the road.

1: Be Prepared

The Boy Scouts have it right. We should always be prepared for any situation, especially when we travel with snow and ice covered roads. Make sure you have a roadside emergency kit in your vehicle at all times, and double check that it has winter essentials. To dig out your vehicle, start by putting on warm layers and gloves. Then assess the situation; think about which way you want your car to face after you’ve dug it out, and determine where you will relocate the snow that’s around your car.

2: Clear the Door and the Exhaust Pipe

Once you start working on clearing the snow away, start by making a path to your car’s driver-side door. Make sure that when you dig out snow, you lift the shovel with your legs -not your back- by bending your knees first. This will help avoid any strain or injury. After you have access to your door you will want to start clearing the snow out from the rear end of your vehicle. Make sure that your exhaust pipe is completely free of snow to prevent carbon monoxide fumes from getting into the car.

3: Start the Car

If your car lock is frozen, you may need to heat your key with a lighter before inserting it. Once in your vehicle, start the car, make sure that the car is in park and that the parking brake is engaged. Then, turn your defroster to high.

4: Clear the Rest of the Snow

Dig out the snow from underneath your vehicle. You should clear the snow until you have at least 2 feet of clear space around your vehicle.

5: Free the Tires

Clear out the snow from behind and in front of all your tires. If you have front-wheel drive, pay close attention to the front wheels of your vehicle. If you have rear-wheel drive, pay close attention to your rear wheels.

6: Dig a Path and Drive Out

Dig out a path to a clear road. Brush the snow and ice off of the top of your vehicle, and use your window scraper to make sure you can see well. Then begin to drive out. Make sure you apply slow and steady pressure to the gas pedal and don’t floor it. If you drive a standard shift vehicle, keep your car in low gear.

7: Rock the Car or Get a Push

If you are having trouble getting traction, you can rock the car. To do this, shift between reverse and forward -if you are driving an automatic- and let the engine settle back to idle before switching gears. If this doesn’t work, you may need to have someone push your vehicle while you apply the gas. You could also try kitty litter or sand to gain traction.

We hope you stay safe out on the roads this winter. If at any time you have problems or concerns with your vehicle, please get in touch with Meridian Automotive. Call us at (208) 297-5573 or schedule an appointment online.

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