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.
Tools to Bring on a Beach Driving Excursion
Anytime you plan a beach driving excursion make sure to pack these sand essentials:
- 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.
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. . .
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.
Now you know how to get yourself out of a sandy situation. Best of luck!