Traction Control: A Lifesaver on Slippery Roads, but It’s Better Left off When Stuck in Snow or Mud

Dear Mike,

I hope you are doing well. I bought a vehicle recently that has traction control, but I’m concerned about what I should do if it becomes stuck in snow or mud. Do you have any suggestions on how to handle this situation, considering the presence of traction control? I would really appreciate your advice on this matter.



Random sign-off name: Cordelia

Dear Cordelia,

Thank you for your question about traction control. Let me start by congratulating you on your new vehicle. I’m sure you’re enjoying the feeling of being behind the wheel of a ride that’s smoother than a glass of whiskey on ice. But we all know that Mother Nature can be a tough cookie. Winter conditions can make driving feel more like extreme sport than a daily commute. That’s where traction control comes in handy.

To put it simply, traction control can save our hides in tricky weather. The system uses sensors in each tire to keep an eye on the traction of our tires. If one begins to slip, the system kicks into gear and reduces the power to that wheel, stopping it from spinning out of control and getting us into a slippery situation.

Now, here’s what to do if you’re stuck in some snow or mud. First off, put the pedal to the metal. I’m not joking. While spinning your tires might not necessarily look like progress, it’s just what you need to get out of that slippery mess. With traction control off, the wheels will spin more furiously, which will give you a better chance of moving forward and breaking through the substance.

Once you’ve gained traction, you can return traction control to its rightful place, helping you maintain stability while driving. In a worst-case scenario, if your tires are still stuck, then try rocking your vehicle forward and backward. With a little bit of momentum, you might be able to gain enough traction to make your way out.

It’s also important to remember that while traction control is an excellent safety feature, it’s not a cure-all for every situation. It’s still important to use caution and common sense when driving in conditions like these. Sometimes, even the best technology can’t protect us when we’re driving in challenging conditions. It’s all about finding the balance between using the technology that can help us and trusting our judgment in tough situations.

In summary, traction control can be a lifesaver on slippery roads but when stuck in mud, snow or sand it’s better left off. When you do try to break free, remember to accelerator in larger bursts. The wheel spinning momentum will help dig your tires to solid ground – and keep an eye out for those winter driving conditions!

If you’re ever in doubt about how to handle a tricky situation when it comes to driving, don’t be afraid to chat with your local automotive center or drive clean technician. We’re more than happy to share our insights, expertise, and maybe even a laugh or two.

Safe driving and happy trailing,

Mike Urban

Founder of Urban Automotive.