The second worst thing that can happen on your backcountry vehicle trip is getting stuck. The absolute worst thing is not knowing how to get unstuck. And the third worst thing is not being able to recognize the hazards on the road that could potentially get you stuck. That’s where we come in. This guide will cover all the common hazards that get vehicles stuck on the trail and the best ways to recover your vehicle from these hazards after it is stuck.
Mud, Snow, and Sand
While the consistency of mud and snow are different, their effects on a car are somewhat similar. In either case, the car is losing traction because the particulate in the ground is unstable and frictionless. One of the best ways to counteract this is by digging down to the solid ground and using that to gain traction. Another option is to use a traction board or a car mat. This will allow the weight of the car to work with the wider weight dispersion and pull itself free. Keep in mind that in the case of snow and sand, simply accelerating while stuck will dig you deeper into the hole!
Oftentimes, when it comes to getting stuck on rocks, the vehicles have either rolled, gotten wedged, or simply bottomed out and lifted all the tires. In either case, the best recovery method involves a winch. Winches are powerful and precise enough that you should have no problem maneuvering yourself out of any tight area. They do not need another vehicle to function; they simply need an anchoring point to fix the winch to. The best part is that on most off-roading cars, winches are somewhat of a standard accessory. Thus, there are many different options to choose from to fit your needs.
When a Winch and Traction Recovery Is Hopeless
If the car is somewhat irretrievable, has no winch, or is simply unable to deploy a winch for any reason, a viable solution may be a recovery strap. These straps are designed to essentially pull any vehicle out of a stuck position using another vehicle. In cases where these straps are needed, you will most likely be traveling with a companion. Traveling with a buddy enables you to effectively have the ultimate recovery tool with you at all times.
When off-roading, the end destination isn’t the goal. The journey is the goal. Knowing how to maneuver in the tightest situations and recover your vehicle under the stress of being in the wilderness is essential. Part of this involves understanding the common hazards that vehicles get stuck in and knowing how to address them. We hope that this article has benefited your efforts while on the road. Safe driving!