Here in the desert, snow isn’t a big problem, but mud is another story. During the summer months, the area may not get much rain, but in the winter and spring, the torrential waters can turn the roads into muck. Whether you intend to drive off-road or not, you might find yourself facing muddy roads. When you know what to do, you can stay calm and get through the soft road without getting stuck. Here are some tips to follow:
Don’t Drive Into Mud If You See These Signs
When you come upon mud, it can be hard to gauge its depth. Slow down and look around before proceeding. You should avoid the mud if you see tracks going into it, but not coming out. This means that someone, maybe even many people, tried to cross it and didn’t succeed. You might want to walk the mud before driving through it. Use a stick to determine how deep the mud is.
Drive Slow, But Keep Moving
Speeding through mud makes it easy to lose control, but when you drive too slowly, you can easily get stuck. It can be difficult to find that balance between as slow as possible and as fast as necessary, but this is the best way to get through mud. If you do find yourself losing traction, turn your wheel slightly from right to left to gain more traction while going forward.
Avoid the Ruts
It’s instinctual to want to follow in someone else’s path, but when it comes to mud, you should blaze your own trail. Mud ruts tend to be softer, which means you won’t get traction. A really, deep rut can cause your vehicle to be high-centered, and you will get stuck.
Keep your tires properly inflated and in good shape. Make sure you have a cell phone with a good charge when you’re driving in wet conditions. Know the route you’re taking. Sometimes, it’s best just to avoid mud. This can depend on the type of vehicle you’re driving and your own comfort level. Carry a shovel or other equipment to help get unstuck.
How to Get Out Safely If You Get Stuck
It’s very easy to misjudge mud and get stuck. Don’t spin the tires. Just stay calm. Try to rock out by switching between drive and reverse, but use a very light touch on the gas pedal. You might want to use second gear. Once the car moves, don’t stop until you’re on solid ground. If this doesn’t work after 8 or 10 times, try something else.
Add traction, such as sand or kitty litter; just make sure it’s not a clay-base type. The car floor mats might even be a way to add traction. Another option is to dig a path of several feet for each tire. You could also try to jack up the car. Just make sure that the ground is firm and then fill in the depressions with gravel or planks to get your car out. Finally, you may just have to call a tow truck. When you’re out of the mud, make sure to wash your vehicle and have a mechanic check for damage.