What To Do If You Get Stuck In The Sand

Our online drivers ed courses can teach you how to cruise safely down the road, but driving on the sand is a whole different skillset. It also poses a unique problem - it’s easy to get stuck!

Ideally, you’ll have access to a four-wheel drive vehicle, which minimizes the chance of getting stuck in the first place, but even a seasoned beach driver can find themselves in a sand trap. If you manage to get stuck in the sand, here are the tools to use, and what to do to dig your way out.

No one likes to be stuck. Make sure to be prepared!

Tools to Bring on a Beach Driving Excursion

Anytime you plan a beach driving excursion make sure to pack these sand essentials:

  • Shovel
  • Traction mats
  • Tow straps
  • Rope (14’ or longer)
  • Couple gallons of water
  • Spare tire
  • Tire pressure gauge

If you need to save space, get yourself a foldable shovel. While it’s not ideal, floor mats can serve as your traction mats. For those who plan to do a lot of beach driving, MaxTrax is a good investment. It’s the ultimate traction pad that also serves as a shovel and can help get a boat out of the water.

Of course, a spare tire is recommended for every driving excursion. Even though the sand is soft, a flat tire is always a possibility.

Already Stuck And for those who are already stuck...

Steps to Take If You Get Stuck in the Sand

Step 1. Let Off the Gas

Pushing the gas pedal could spin the tires and dig you in deeper. It’s best to stop and assess the situation rather than flooring it and trying to power through.

Step. 2 Back Up Onto the Traction Mats

Put the traction mats (or floor mats) behind the back tires. Now back up slowly to get unstuck.

If that doesn’t work. . .

Time for the big guns It's time to bring the bad boys!

Step 3. Break Out the Shovel

Deep sand pits require a little bit more elbow grease to get out of once you’re stuck. Use the shovel to dig in front of each tire. Make a hard-packed path that extends at least a few feet in front of the tires. You’ll also need to clear the sand away from beneath the underbelly of the vehicle before trying to drive out. The less sand that’s touching your vehicle, the less resistance there will be.

Step 4. Lay Out the Traction Mats

Once you shovel sand away from the tires, lay down the traction mats again, and try to drive out slowly. Avoid hitting the gas and the brakes.

Step 5. Wet Down the Sand

If you still can’t get enough traction to get out of a sand trap, try wetting down the sand. HOWEVER, don’t use the water from your gallon jugs. That’s reserved for the engine if it overheats. Hopefully, there’s an ocean or lake full of water nearby that can be used to wet the sand so it sticks together and is easier to drive across.

Step 6. Get a Tow

If all of your efforts still haven’t gotten you out of the sand, it’s time for outside assistance. Get your tow straps and rope, and then look for a kind soul with a 4WD vehicle.

Searching for help Searching for a kind soul like...

Now you know how to get yourself out of a sandy situation. Best of luck!

Krista Doyle
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