How to free your stranded car from the snow

10:12 PM, Dec 10, 2013   |    comments
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  • Winter weather creates challenging weekend commute
  • Cars in ditch on I-96W near Coopersville Tuesday afternooon

COOPERSVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) -- WZZM 13 News hit the snowy roads west of Ottawa County Tuesday afternoon and saw multiple vehicles in the ditch. We also saw a lot of tow trucks on the way to save the day.

So how many of you know the tricks to get yourselves out of the ditch?

"I hit the brakes once, fish tailed it, and slammed in to him," said Matt Geoghan, referring to Zach Knapp. "People want to hit their brakes on the highway. That's why she's in the ditch, that's why he spun out," said Knapp.

Lisa Stewart joined the group. All were stuck in the snow on westbound I-96 near Coopersville Tuesday afternoon. "I never did think this would happen to me," said Stewart. "I don't need to be towed out, I just need to be pulled out," she said.

Stewart admits, she has no idea how to get herself out of the snow bank, so she's stuck with one option. "Tow truck guy says $95 or a credit card.

To save you money and time-- as the trucks are running slow in this winter mess-- we gathered some advice to plow yourself out of the snow.

To start, clear any snow from your tailpipe to avoid gases from building up inside the vehicle, and use that shovel you're supposed to be carrying, says Brett Schunk with Brett and Chuck's Tire. "That way you can dig out a little path if you had to," he said.

Press the brakes slightly to decrease spinning on the wheel. That should get both wheels working to help you out of the snow. Here's more tips:

"Almost all vehicles have a floor mat, in an icy situation, slide that under a wheel, give them a little more traction," said Schunk.

Kitty litter does the job too, and it serves another purpose. "It adds weight to the vehicle."

In some situations, you may need another person's help, or you may need to help another person. Schunk has his truck fully loaded with gear. "Tow straps, if someone needs to be yanked out," he said. He's been that person multiple times. "I keep a jump pack, just in case the battery goes dead," he said.

But before you get the shovel out, Schunk says pay attention to your surroundings. "If you're outside your vehicle, and someone's going through the same ice patch as you are, you have a real good chance that they could hit that ice patch and hit you," he said.

"And if you're severely stuck, call a wrecker, to be safe."

Schunk says the number one way to avoid ending up in the ditch is to get new snow tires. He says everyone has been waiting until this week to get them so his shop has been very busy.

That's the same story at multiple other tire stores WZZM 13 News contacted.

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