So… you’re in a sticky situation. Now what? Here are some tips and tricks how to get out of the snow, sand or mud.
Use your winch – This is one UTV accessory that we find hard to live without. It is so incredibly handy. Nothing we’ve found is more helpful when you’ve got yourself stuck. Just remember to use a tree saver to wrap around a tree or rock. Also, be conscious of the drain a winch can take on your battery.
Come along and tow straps – If you don’t have a winch, a good come-along and a few tow or rescue straps can do the trick. It’s a bit more work than using a winch, but can definitely help get you out.
Make an anchor – There are several ways to try to make an anchor to attach your winch or come-along to if there are no good trees or rocks around. We’re not going to get into all the ways to make an anchor. But if you have a tarp and shovel with you, you can try a dead man anchor or sand parachute. These are both pretty labor and time intensive though. We recommend using them as a last resort.
If you don’t have either of the tools above with you, you may have to get a little more creative.
Digging out – This one is a bit obvious, but sometimes it’s all you need to do. If it isn’t too wet, or slushy or deep, you’ll probably have some success. Dig out any sand/snow/mud that has built up around your tires. You also may need to clear out anything underneath the vehicle before trying to get out.
Rock back and forth – sometimes a little momentum is all you’ll need to get out. This doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a try. Although if it isn’t working, it is probably making things worse. Don’t keep trying this one over and over again.
Traction Pad – Anything that gives you some traction will help. If you don’t have a traction pad, you can use sticks, branches, plywood, cardboard, pieces of carpet, pretty much anything that your tires may grip. After digging around the tires a bit, stuff a bit of whatever you’re using in front of your tires, then slowly try accelerating. Go slowly so that your tires have time to grip and not just fling everything out from underneath it.
Lower your tire pressure – You may have started with a low pressure if you’re riding dunes. You can lower it even further if you get stuck. Just don’t lower it so much that the tire comes off the rim. By lowering your tire pressure, you’ll increase the surface area of your tire and provide more traction.
Putting planks on your tires – I’ve seen people actually strap sticks, and other small objects right to their tires to give themselves some more traction. Try lashing a plank of wood or tree limb to the tire. Just be sure whatever you use won’t interfere with your fender, suspension, or brake lines at any point in your tires rotation. This works similar to having chains on your tires, and can help get you out.
The best way to get out of a sticky situation is to be prepared for it. Bringing a couple of tools along when you ride can make a big difference. With a handful of tools and little ingenuity, you’ll find yourself unstuck and back out on the trail in no time.