What to do when your car is bogged


Here are some tips for when you find yourself stuck in a rut.

Jeep bogged in the mud
If you're driving off-road, or in conditions in which you could easily become bogged, it's important to have a plan to get out of the sticky situation. Whether in the family sedan or a 4×4, there are some basic rules to follow for getting your vehicle free while keeping passengers safe.

Don't panic

Panic will lead to quick thinking, but that thinking might not be safe or assist the situation. Take the time to assess the situation, take passengers out of the vehicle if necessary, and think about what equipment you might need to solve this problem.

Stop accelerating

When first encountering some sticky terrain the first response can be to push down on the accelerator. Hitting the accelerator reduces the ability for the wheels to gain traction and will most times force your vehicle deeper into the bog. You need to either proceed slowly forward or try and reverse back into the solid tracks you've already created.

You can try manoeuvre out by moving the tyres slowly with light acceleration, while moving the steering wheel left to right to help the wheels find traction points. If you are driving an automatic, put the car in the lowest gear possible. If you are driving a manual, put the car into a higher gear and let the clutch out gradually.

Create some traction

Once a car is bogged down, whether it be in sand, snow, or mud, the solution is to increase traction for the tyres. You can create traction points in a few ways. Firstly, try dig out a bit of the mud, snow or sand in front of the power wheels. If this isn't enough, try wedge a car mat, blanket, or old coat under the leading edge of the wheel. Don't forget to check your tyre pressure.

When in sand, letting down the tyre pressure will allow the vehicle to float on the soft sand and will hopefully allow the vehicle to push forward. In snowy conditions, some drivers may keep rock salt or cat-box litter to pour in front of the tyres and help provide traction.

Ask for help

If none of the above solutions help free the vehicle, the next step is to ask for help. This may be a friend with a tow hitch, some extra muscle to push the car free, or contacting your roadside assistance team to help recover the vehicle.

If you're planning on driving in conditions where you could easily become bogged, ensure you have extra equipment like shovels, snatch straps and shackles, safe hitch points, spare mats and blankets, or even kitty-litter on hand in the event you become stuck. The best defence against a bog is being prepared.

Related topics