Living in Michigan during the winter months means lots of snow and dangerous icy roads.

If you've lived here your entire life, chances are pretty good that you've ended up in the ditch at least once or twice. Whether it was to avoid a deer or another car, or you simply lost control on an icy road. It happens and it can turn into a scary situation really fast.

Before you call a tow truck for help, there are a number of things that you can do on your own to free yourself from the grips of Mother Nature. This also applies if you're in an area with bad reception. You might have no choice but to tackle this on your own.

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Here's What You Should Do if You Get Stuck

If your vehicle is stuck in the snow, follow these steps from to get it free:

  • Watch for traffic and make sure it is safe to make the attempt.
  • Shovel 2-3 feet clear in a straight line in front of the drive tires. it might be a good idea to keep a small snow shovel in your trunk just in case.
  • Point the wheels straight and turn off your traction control.
  • Using a soft foot on the accelerator, carefully rock the vehicle by first shifting into drive, then reverse, then back to drive, and so on. Get that car rocking.
  • If you have other people with you, ask them to push the vehicle forward while you perform the above rocking maneuver.
  • If you're still stuck, sprinkle sand, kitty litter, or rock salt under the tires for traction. Again, keep one of these items in your vehicle.
  • Before calling a tow truck, the last resort is to try letting a little air out of the tires. This increases the contact area between the tires and the road/snow, giving you more traction. This was a new one to me, never thought about doing this but makes total sense.

If you're in a situation where all of the above seems like a waste of time, just call a tow truck or someone that you know can easily pull you out.

Items to Keep in Your Vehicle During the Winter

  • Ice/snow scraper
  • Shovel
  • Sand, litter, or rock salt
  • Blanket
  • Flashlight
  • Tow ropes
  • Jumper cables

It's all pretty much common sense.

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