I've been lucky in snow and never been badly bogged or stuck. But a mate told me over a few Xmas ales that he keeps a few squares of rubber matting his car boot and when he gets badly stuck or slips on ice or snow he slips them under the tyres and the grip gets him out every time.
I'm dubious and have a few beers riding on his success rate. Anyone use anything similar or heard anything similar?
Get your wallet out..
I used to work for the NFU in Cumbria - standard winter car kit (apart from the coat/shovel etc) was something that went under the wheels that wouldnt shred when power went on..so rubber mats would work fine
just be careful if you get stuck on a hill when solo and start using such methods. - use chocks just behind the wheels if possible.
A few years ago, just before the fourth session of edging up a small slope into our land using hessian sacks, I was horrified when, as I shut the drivers door to replace the sacks in front of the wheels, the van slid off back down the hill....
Luckily it was only 10 yds and had a hedge to soften the blow! 2nd time lucky...
£25 for a set of chains after that and last 2 winters, I went anywhere I needed to go
Around 5 years ago I got stuck on both Xmas and Boxing Days in the snow which wasn't that deep, just a slight gradient. Decided there and then to get myself a 4x4 so invested in a Honda CRV and haven't been stuck since.
I know it is an expensive option but I consider it essential on the roads of the North of Scotland during winter if I want to go to the hills.
Can I just mention in relation to Rosswm's comment that I have some plastic traction strips which I have had for some years mainly to help me get my caravan out of muddy fields. Not so important now as I have a 4x4 but my daughter has used them in snow and they work a treat. See here.
Mine are the yellow Maypole Mats .
All OK in theory but if its real snow thats sort of stuff will get you a few feet then stuck again. Only been stopped once in snow, bashing through snow drifts and stopped for a break. Blowing snow and repeated windscreen wipers goes for my eyes. I popped the bonnet to refill screenwash ( I keep a supply in the boot in winter ) the engine compartment was choked with compacted snow. I was surprised I had not damaged anything. I was sure if I kept going I would rip the radiator or altenator off so waited for a plough. As a local said, if you need shovels , chains etc what you doing out anyway. Unless you have a 4 x 4 most cars wont hack real snow. You really dont want to get rescued by a plough either. Buried the front of car in snow and stones the push up , attached 40 feet chain then he shot back at full pelt.
Kind of agree with Chilli. If you need anything special then you haven't the car for the job. Chains, those tyre socks of cover thingies or mats will be good for a while but if you are in the open going through snow down many roads in a proper winter you will hit deep snow which a car will not be suitable for. 4x4s will be better but I think even defenders and bigger 4x4s ramming snow drifts are not good.
I personally think that if the snow is likely to be a problem for normal driving I look for another way. It is not worth trying to get further into your trip only to be stuck further away from an alternative method of travel or shelter. However if you do want to continue the mat technique is well known for snow. for pukka offroaders you can get metal tracking that you tie to your tow loop or bumper then stick under your wheels. These are commonly used for sand or other similar dodgy ground but can also be used in snow. This is basically what those above are suggesting for the carpet, rubber matts, etc. Just tie them onto your car and once you get going keep going. Stopping to put the mats back in your car is not recommended until the road conditions get better such as on the flat or with less snow.
I still think keeping an eye on weather forecasts and even webcams if you can then changing your travel plans is the first option before you get stuck.
Most difficult conditions are drifting snow. You get clear sections then deep accumulations. Once told best thing use momentum and charge through drifts. I did ask what happens if there is a stuck car in the drift ? The answer . you will stop then??
Modern cars are too soft though. Bumbers are not real bumbers anymore and expensive, low profile tyres are a nightmare except clear roads, combine this with a powerful car and wheel spin guaranteed. My old cirtroen AX was great , small narrow wheels , not exactly a muscle car that overtook many a 4 x 4 ( another topic 2 tonnes metal , a driver no idea , road tyres and a belief you will go anywhere just as its a 4 x 4 how many 4 x 4 do you see driven off road in winter ?0
......and expensive, low profile tyres are a nightmare except clear roads, combine this with a powerful car and wheel spin guaranteed.
Not sure about personal choice - thats how the cars are supplied (recently was looking at a "new" car for me at a dealers and everything had alloy wheels...asked if I could have one with steel wheels as I dont like alloys becuase they damage so easily etc etc...reaction.....you want what...No, they are supplied with alloys).
My foster brother is a farmer - got rid of his old 4x4 (when the baler twine wouldnt hold it together anymore) and bought a Renault Kangoo van with mud and snow tyres. His view - it will go to 99% of the places the 4x4 would and the last 1% he shouldnt have been there anyway) - coupled with cost savings (fuel and purchase price) if it lasts 2 or more years he is quids in.
Anyway, back to the point - mats will get you out and, IMHO, are a good signal change your plan. Chances are, get stuck once and you will again. That is with hindsight and up to 65,000 miles a year experience
Aye GOF - first time round you get the tyres you're given but when they need replacing or if you go or live places that get the snow, fitting the same again or not having a set of winter tyres is a choice.
Most of the time I've had to use some sort of device to get traction it's been out of a snow covered carpark or side-road when the roads themself are pretty clear. Not a scenario when I'm going to shrug my shoulders & give up.
LL - 4x4's won't stop on ice any better than a 2wd. The way some drivers of 4x4 drive you wouldn't think it! In snow 4x4 car on general use tyres trumps 2wd on same. 2wd on winters, it's a closer call. 4x4 on winter tyres - awesome. From personal experience last winter. This year the winter tyres are already on!
My work vehicle is a 2WD Ford Ranger. In winter 2009 it was still on the stock Bridgestones. Several times I had trouble pulling away on the snow. I would use a shovel to clear in front of the rear wheels up to front wheels down to the tarmac. These seven foot strips would allow me to get moving and then I was generally OK.
For winter 2010 I had a pair of mud and snow tyres on the back axle and two lumps of concrete lashed down in the pickup bed. I never needed the shovel.
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