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Getting stuck in a snowy parking lot, mud or soft sand can be an intimidating experience for a trucker; but you can be sure that sooner or later you will experience getting stuck. It can be an intimidating and possibly expensive experience for any truck driver. Here are some tips and tricks to getting your big rig unstuck:

Obvious tip: Don’t get stuck in the first place

First things first, the easiest way to get unstuck is to avoid having it happen in the first place. Get out and walk the area if you are unsure of the ground ahead or behind you. It is never, ever a good idea to drive on soft ground.

If you are parking in a snowy lot for the night park for a few minutes, and once the tires have cooled move the truck forward or back a little from where you were initially parked. Even in cold weather tires hold enough heat to partially heat the snow when parked, if you don’t move the melted snow will freeze under the tire and turn to ice. If you let the tires cool down and move off the icy spot you’ve created you will avoid getting stuck in a snowy, icy space.

If you are already stuck: How to get your big rig unstuck

The first thing to do when you are stuck is to figure which wheels are not getting traction. The second is to determine what will solve the traction problem without damaging anything.

  • The easiest and quickest way to get unstuck is to be pulled forward by a wrecker. It is expensive but it will cause the least amount of damage and get you unstuck.
  • If you have a manual transmission and some patience it is possible to rock yourself back and forth to get unstuck. Set up the rocking motion by simultaneously feathering the fuel and engaging the clutch. The truck’s momentum will push the truck backward or forward enough that the wheels can gain traction.
  • Note, with wide super single drive tires and automatic transmissions it is not possible to rock the truck.
  • If you are stuck in the snow you can chain up to get your truck unstuck, but remember chains will not work in mud or sand.
  • Sometimes simply putting a chain or two under the drives will allow you to pull out.
  • On soft ground jack up the wheel not getting traction and fill in the ruts with stone to give the traction needed.
  • If you do get stuck, don’t rev the truck just to continue spinning. It is not good for the truck or the drive lines.

There are times when kitty litter, chains or wood will help give you leverage and the traction you need to get unstuck, so keeping these items on hand is never a bad idea. The key is to always beware of your surroundings and if you do get stuck try to stay calm so you can properly handle the situation.