Whether you're driving halfway across the country or just two states over, truckers face some unique issues during the winter that can make life a lot more difficult. This includes parking for the night and waking up to find you're stuck in the snow. Because of the size and weight of your vehicle, it can be a tough proposition to get unstuck without a fair bit of work.
That extra time lost can create even more headaches, so you need to know how to get yourself extricated as quickly and easily as possible. The following tips should help you do just that:
1) Set the wheels straight and stay in low gears
This is the simplest tip for when you get stuck in snow, and it can work more often than not, according to Trucks.com. Keeping the wheels straight can help you build the necessary momentum, and the low gears help the tires spin at the proper speed to gain traction.
2) Rock and roll (if you can)
If you can feel a little bit of give, but not enough, try shifting back and forth between first gear and reverse to "rock" the truck out of its stuck position, Trucks.com said. It's worth nothing, though, that this may be impossible if your truck has an automatic transmission, so this tip really only applies to drivers who drive standard.
3) Put on the chains
Any trucker worth their salt probably has a set of tire chains with them throughout the winter and, well, this situation is what you keep them for, according to Roeder Cartage. However, this won't work very well (or at all) if it's more than just snow you're stuck in; when there's mud or sand involved, the chains won't help you get the extra traction you need.
4) Try jacking up the wheel that can't get traction, then filling under it
If you have the option, you might be able to jack up the part of your vehicle that's not gaining traction and put fill under it to add that extra grip, Roeder Cartage advised. This could be nearby rocks, kitty litter, sand or something else, but the idea is to get something your tires can "grab onto."
5) Prep for a bad situation
Of course, the simplest way to avoid getting stuck is to know the potential warning signs that the place where you're parking could lead to you getting stuck, according to Smart Trucking. If you can, give yourself a few extra minutes after you stop (waiting for the tires to cool) and then move a bit.
6) Check your parking area
Along similar lines, inspect your parking area before you settle down for the night, Smart Trucking added. Is there excess snow you can clear? Is the ground muddy and soft? If so, you'll be better off moving elsewhere.
7) Call for some assistance
Finally, there are some situations where you're not going to be able to get yourself out, and sometimes, you just have to accept it, Smart Trucking further recommended. Call a wrecker or other kind of tow truck and eat the (surprisingly expensive) fee; otherwise, you're going to lose too much time.
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