The Three Things You Need When Your Car is Stuck in the Snow

I think it goes without saying for anyone living in the continental United States that this has been the winter from hell and getting your car stuck in the snow has become par for the course. I’ve been through this several times in my life, but this winter, the snow has been relentless and I’ve had the opportunity (the unfortunate opportunity) to test the various suggestions and now I’m hear to tell you what works and what’s a waste of time.

First, stuff people and the internet will tell you that does not work very well.
Kitty Litter – I’m guessing the kitty litter industry started this rumor to sell more product. Well, it worked; I wasted maybe an hour and at least half a bag of kitty litter, but no luck
Cardboard – You know what cardboard’s good for? making boxes, not getting out of the snow. I’m sure this worked for somebody at some point, but I’ve never been able to use cardboard effectively to get the car out of the snow and ice.

What does work? Salt.
Yeah, go get yourself some salt. And I mean any salt. Sure, the big stuff you buy for melting ice on your sidewalk is the best, but anything will do – that sea salt you put in the grinder on your kitchen table? That works fine, too, and you don’t need a lot of it. I haven’t had a chance to test it, but I bet regular table salt works, too.

Anyway, get your salt, your shovel and that thingy you use to clear ice off your windshield and get cracking: remove every bit of snow and ice you can from around your wheels and in their immediate path that you can. I shovel, then I scrape with that thingy around the front of the tires and then finally, apply the salt. If your car is front wheel drive, then you really only need to salt around the front of your front tires, and if your car is rear wheel drive… well, i haven’t dealt with a rear wheel drive car in so long, I can’t remember, but since your power is coming from the rear wheels, definitely salt in front of those rear tires. I don’t think I ever got stuck in the car I had that was rear wheel drive, but then, that car had a pretty large V6 and powered through just about anything. (If your car is all wheel drive, then you’re probably laughing your ass off at this post because you probably never get stuck in the snow.)

That’s about it – just get yourself some salt, a shovel and a windshield scraper and go to work – don’t waste your time with other methods!

Another thought:
The next time I know snow is coming, I’m going to try jamming cardboard under my tires after I park and weighing the cardboard down with a rock or something else heavy. My idea is that after I remove the snow, the ground under the cardboard will be relatively dry and ice free and hopefully, it’ll make getting out of our inclined driveway easier.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on February 14, 2014, in lists, observations and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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