No one plans on getting stuck in the ditch. However, during a Midwestern winter, it seems almost inevitable.
Before You Hit the Road.
If the roads look slick, there are some things you can do ahead of time to decrease your chance of ending up in a ditch. First, double check your tire pressure. You want all of your tires to be properly inflated to maximize traction. Second, throw some bags of kitty litter or sand in your cab. If you do end up in the ditch, you can sprinkle either of these around your tires to melt the ice and snow. Finally, consider putting on snow chains. Just make sure to check your state’s laws regarding chains before you head out on the road.
When You Start to Slide.
- Don’t hit the brakes when you begin to slide. Instead, ease of the accelerator and ride it out. If you start heading for the ditch, try to use what momentum you have left to stay on the road.
- Once your rig comes to a stop in the ditch, don’t spin your wheels. You’ll most likely dig yourself in deeper.
- Point your wheels straight ahead. This will help prevent further stress on your tires once the tow begins.
After You’re in the Ditch.
While you could try calling the local tow company, there are certainly reasons why some truck drivers choose not to go this route (see below video).
Instead, a driver may belong to a roadside assistance program. Arguably, one of the most well-known roadside assistance programs is Roadside Masters. Some offerings of such programs include:
- Towing Assistance
- Tire Repair and Replacement Assistance
- Mobile Mechanic Service
- Replacement Battery Delivery
- Jump Starts
- And More…
If you have a shovel, why not shovel around your tires and try to create a tow path. Once again, this can make the actual tow go a lot smoother. However, please be careful. Put on proper snow shoes and check before you step. If it’s too icy to walk safely around your rig, then it may be best to wait until the tow truck arrives.
If you’re leased onto a motor carrier, it is always best to speak with management to see if there are any protocols in place on how to handle your rig getting stuck in the ditch.
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