Safe driving tips: What to do if your car gets stuck in a ditch

November 18th, 2020 by

Part of safe driving is knowing how to handle drive time emergencies calmly and efficiently, whether the cause of the emergency is you or another driver. Today we’re talking about how to deal with getting your car stuck in a ditch. This roadside emergency is actually more common than you might think – whether a driver is forced off the road because of an accident or slides off the road in inclement weather, ending up in a ditch is always a possibility. Check out these Clermont Toyota tips for freeing your ride from this precarious position as quickly and calmly as possible.

safe driving tips

Toyota of Clermont’s best safe driving tips for roadside emergencies

Tip #1: Assess everyone in the car before you try moving it. If anyone is injured, you should call 911. Even if no one needs to be taken to the hospital, the paramedics can assess injuries on-site and no one needs immediate medical attention.

Tip #2: Turn on your hazard lights, especially if it’s dark out. This will alert other drivers and passersby to your whereabouts so they can avoid hitting you. Additionally, if your car is close to the road, call for help to remove it from the ditch. Don’t waste time trying to do it yourself if the risk of another car hitting you is high.

Tip #3: If the ditch is dry – there’s no mud or water in it – then you can try lightening the weight of your vehicle to free it. This means emptying out the trunk and also having all passengers exit the car. You should then try to gently accelerate to free your Clermont Toyota, but don’t slam on the gas (this can cause the wheels to simply spin and not gain any traction).

Tip #4: On the other hand, if your car is sitting in mud or water, don’t empty it out. The extra weight can actually work in your favor. However, just pushing the accelerator down won’t get you out of the ditch because mud and water make conditions slippery. In this scenario, you’ll need to put something under the tires to give you extra traction. We recommend keeping a small bag of kitty litter in the trunk or even using pieces of cardboard or your floormats to help your tires get a grip. You should place the traction device in front of the tires for a front-wheel-drive vehicle, and behind the tires in a rear-wheel-drive vehicle.

Tip #5: If you’ve tried and failed to get yourself out of the ditch, it may be time to call the professionals. You should never try to pull or winch yourself out of a ditch if you don’t know how the tools work – you can do serious and costly damage to your vehicle’s bumpers and frame. Call a tow truck and then have your vehicle brought to Toyota of Clermont to have our auto service techs assess it for any damage.

Have Toyota of Clermont make sure your car is fit for safe driving after an accident

Need to make an appointment for us to take a look? Call us for help at (352) 404-7000, or stop by and see us at 16851 State Road 50.