How to get unstuck when snowed in

Imagine, if you will, a winter getaway in the snowfields. You’ve just enjoyed a spectacular day skiing down the thinly covered runs of Australia’s east coast, followed by a well deserved bevvie at the mountain’s go-to pub, and you’re about ready to head home. Problem is, when you return to your car, you find it snowed under, and you’re unable get the car to move. Just what are you going to do now? True, Australia doesn’t have a raging number of snowy peaks in which to get trapped, but we do have our fair share of sandy and muddy plains in which to get bogged. Therefore, while the below applies specifically to snow, the same principles apply to mud and sand as well. The number one rule: resist the urge to rush the accelerator and spin the tyres. This helps in absolutely no situation.


  1. First up, assess the damage. Are all wheels stuck, or just the front ones? If it’s the latter, things should be a little easier. Next, is there snow covering the tailpipe? If so, clear it before you start the car.
  2. Start digging. Break up ice and snow around the tyres using that shovel you keep in your boot. No shovel you say? Well, make a mental note to buy one for future occasions, because you’re about to discover just how much fun it is to dig out your car using only your bare hands. Joy.
  3. After you’ve removed as much snow and ice as possible, time to start up the engine. Rule number one: Do NOT gun it. Slamming on the accelerator will cause the wheels to spin and cause ice to build up under the wheels again. Use the right pedal gently and hopefully your car will begin to gather some traction and work its way forward.
  4. If things aren’t that quickly resolved, try rocking back and forth. Gradually move forward as far as you can go, then put the car into reverse and move as far as you can backwards.
  5. Create a little extra traction by placing sheets of cardboard in front of your tyres. Failing this, your car mats should work a treat too.