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  • Rowan

Winter vehicle safety tips

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

With a frigid winter cyclone hitting most of the country this holiday season its more important than ever to stay safe out on the road. While carrying a gun and knowing how to use it is great it won't help you if you get your car stuck in a snow bank.

I was inspired to make this post after helping out two separate drivers in my neighborhood. The first got his truck stuck fairly deep into a snow bank and the second high sided his car trying to pull into his driveway. Both vehicles had all wheel drive but that's no guarantee you won't get stuck. I'm no expert in vehicle recovery but I do carry a couple tools which have proved very useful and helped me get both drivers back on the road.

The first item is a set of traction boards. These are also called recovery boards and are used to provide your tires with extra traction when you get stuck in mud, sand, or snow.

Traction boards can cost up to $300 for a pair but I took a chance on a cheaper option on Amazon for around $80 and have now used them twice to great effect. I'm sure the $300 boards are great but I think the cheaper options work just fine for the occasional recovery.

The boards are lightweight and will fit in a car trunk or the bed of a pick up. I have two plastic totes from Costco that have spare clothes and emergency equipment and these boards fit right on top.

I learned pretty quickly that these aren't magic. If you simply try to wedge them under the wheels there is a good chance the tires will keep slipping without grabbing the boards. It takes a bit of extra work to dig out the tire and make sure you can get the boards under there but it makes a big difference.

Another must-have when driving out in the snow is a snow shovel. I use a simple cheap folding shovel from Costco and it has worked great. For the second driver I helped he had tried to drive over the snow built up at the end of his driveway and got the car high sided with the car stuck on the top of the mound of snow. I was able to clear some of the snow around the tires and out from under the car and then rock it back and forth on the traction boards to break it free.

The last recovery item you should consider is a kinetic tow rope. These tow ropes have a built in stretch to them that allows you to yank the stuck vehicle out of the mud or snow without damage. If you try towing with a normal tow strap you need to drive very slowly and carefully. A kinetic tow strap allows you to build up speed and unstick stubborn cars without ripping off bumpers and tow hooks. If you are going to carry a tow rope make sure to watch some instructional videos so you can use your specific type of tow rope safely.

These recovery items are what you should consider carrying along with a robust emergency kit but hopefully with these three items you can help make sure you never need to dig into your emergency supplies!

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