By on December 2, 2019

frozen car. Shutterstock user Pixelcruiser

Winter arrived north of the border with a bang this weekend, catching some people and good many municipal snowplows off guard. Stuck and otherwise immobile vehicles littered the roadway like debris at a ticker tape parade.

This frozen wasteland got your author thinking — what’s the stickiest situation in which you’ve ever placed a vehicle?

We should open this question up to any type of stuckness (that’s a word now, folks), given the vast and varied range of residence of our readership; sand, mud, or snow — it’s your choice.

Hailing from a granite rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, your author has experienced his fair share of apocalyptic snowfall. It is true that what falls from the sky in some corners of this continent is not to be believed. Whiteout snow, conditions in which drivers cannot see past the end of their vehicle hood, often force a person to feel their way along the edge of a roadway using the tires, trusting in nothing but a good sense of direction and a whole dose of luck.

On one occasion, as you’d expect, my luck ran out. Unable to feel the pavement’s edge with the tires of a then late-model Ford Taurus, the Blue Oval sedan sank off the side of the road into a deep ditch. Absent of roadway, I could feel the car falling in slow motion, as if time was coming to a standstill. The car buried itself to the beltline. The guy in an Impala who was following my taillights whoa’d up in time to avoid the same fate; he gave me a lift into town. Extracting the thing once the storm died down was an experience best forgotten.

Snow to the beltline of a 2004 Taurus SEL — that’s my record. What’s yours?

[Image: Shutterstock/Pixelcruiser]

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35 Comments on “QOTD: Is Yer Truck Stuck, Chuck?...”

  • avatar

    Having grown up in rural New England I eagerly await the stories .


  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Last year I was sent out to western VA after a storm ripped through the rural farms my company serves. I was in a newer Colorado and was asked to patrol the entire line which ran between fences for a couple different fields/farms. I found myself in a cow pasture and needed to go around a a kink in the fence which had some, what we’ll generously call, “mud” on the other side. No problem, I thought. I felt it getting really soft and deep but it would have been fine but for an unseen rock being in my left front tire’s path. I went from about 8mph to a dead stop instantly. All 4 tires spun and threw “mud” everywhere.

    My partner had been walking and figured I wouldn’t have decided to go where I did. He made his way over and we rocked it for a good while as I tried to decide if I wanted to tuck my tail and call for help. By then I was up to the frame in muck. Somehow my partner found a piece of wood big enough to get under one of the rear tires to get just a bit of traction and I managed to gas it out of the hole. My partner only slightly covered in it.

    Getting back out was an adventure too since I had to find another path out. I didn’t get stuck but there’s a pretty big scrape on the driveshaft from that part.

    • 0 avatar

      I did something somewhat similar. A friend alerted me to a piece of property for sale he thought I could snag for cheap. “Drive down XYZ road and turn off at the bottom of the hill.”

      Being at the “bottom”….it was also very wet. I was driving a Plymouth Valiant with a 318 V8 which was very nose-heavy. Within 50 feet I lost altitude as it settled into the bog, not to emerge without the assistance of serious hardware. I hoofed it at least 6 miles to a garage to get a tow-truck to yank it out. Lesson learned.

  • avatar

    Got my Grand Prix stuck up to the door sills in some back water Florida swamp. Luckily a back water local happened by in his giant 4X4 swamp buggy thing and gladly pulled me out. He was more excited about showing-off to his buddies then I was getting my car unstuck

  • avatar

    Winter 1994 – Stupid Renault Alliance ’84 – I traded a perfectly good 83 Chrysler New Yorker for this POS. Haunted me in college. No one knew how to fix it. Not even the Chrysler dealer. (and this was the early nineties!) Went thru 3 head gaskets in 1 year. On January, Got stuck in the middle of an ice storm, (coming back from a last hail mary fix of glass water that didnt work) with a car that could only do 4 miles before overheating and stopping, so it took me about 5 hours to go through 16 miles at a balmy 29F. I would stop, then pick up chunks of ice, to put on top of the head. The head then would cool down in 30-45 min enough to crank the engine and do 4 more miles. This car tried to kill me with incompetence. The dark horse of Kenosha, unleashed to do evil in the kingdom of men. Die, die, die!!

  • avatar

    I’ve lived on the western, lake-effect snow part of Michigan most of my life. And I don’t know if it’s sheer luck or all of those early years with a light 2WD Nissan truck, but I’ve never been stuck for long.

    Exceptions: same truck, parked upward on a fairly steep hill on a crowded street. I got into the space, walked to my college class, but when I got back I could not rock that truck free. And I kept sliding further and further back toward the vehicle parked behind.

    Luckily some old coot in a 4WD stopped and helped to push. No luck! He flagged someone else down and with the second person I was finally able to free myself without rolling into the car behind.

  • avatar

    Mine does not involve snow since snow does not exist where i live.

    I was 17 and felt unstoppable in my first pickup truck (77 K10). A few buddies of mine all piled into my truck and we proceeded to a local lake for a bbq and swimming. The lake was at historically low levels and a lot of clay was exposed. I decided to bounce my way around the lake in search of a secluded place to swim and grill when we came to a gully filled with clay. Like a novice 17yr old driver, i turned to my friend and said “meh, it don’t look deep”.

    One pass of pedal to the floor goodness unleashed a flurry of mud onto my other friend who was riding in the bed. We giggled gleefully as the truck climbed out the other side of the gully. Feeling unstoppable, i turned the truck around and pointed it at the deeper side of the clay. Without checking the depth, i charged into the goo. The truck stopped before it reached the bottom of the gully. All wheels were spinning and the frame was comfortably cradled in many inches of clay.

    The friends got out and dug. I pressed the gas. We got closer to China. We all started digging and stuffing rocks under the tires. I rocked the truck back and forth only to become more firmly entrenched in the mud. One friend lost his shoe in the mud trying to push. It was never recovered.

    A park ranger had parked on the hill above and began watching as we struggled to free my prized possession. After 45 minutes of digging and pushing, i proceeded up the hill with my head hung and a defeated countenance. When i reached the park ranger, i asked for help. He informed me that it was illegal to drive around the lake and that i would have to call a tow truck to pull me out. I asked him how much the towing bill would cost. “Probably around $400-$500” was his response. No 17yr old can afford a $500 tow bill! I was screwed.

    He probably saw the desperation and defeat in my face and offered to use the winch on his truck to pull me out. I gladly accepted his offer fully expecting to be ticketed for driving where i should not. I hooked up the cable since he did not want to dirty his boots. He easily pulled me out and the proceeded to explain that tearing up this mud released bad stuff into the water that would hurt the fish population. I nodded in understanding and asked him how much the fine would be. He declined to cite me and told me to go home, wash off my truck and not drive around the lake again.

  • avatar

    My father once got his car glued to the road via ice when he lived in NY. A house up the street caught fire and as the fire department fought the blaze all that water had to go somewhere. His car was at the bottom of hill where the water pooled up. The next morning the car was frozen solid in about 3″ of ice. The fire department actually came back and used their axes to cut the car out.

    I live in FL so no such ice related problems. However I did once get my Rodeo stuck in some mud at fishing spot by a lake. Turns out a 2WD SUV isn’t any better then your average car when it comes to mud. The tow truck driver wasn’t happy because he claimed this was an “off road recovery” but AAA only paid him for a standard tow.

  • avatar
    Thomas Kreutzer

    I once put an up-armored Crown Vic into a rice paddy. My passenger at the time was niece of a former Japanese Prime Minister.

    And that’s all there is to say about that…

  • avatar
    R Henry

    I live near Los Angeles, and once I actually had to use an umbrella to get out to my Mazda6 on the driveway, which was WET!! Golly…it was awful!

  • avatar

    Stuck in a snowbank with my 1982 Chevy Celebrity back in the early 90s, shortly after getting my license. I was “drift busting” as we called it in those days, smashing through snow drifts on the road before the plows got to them. This was after a basketball game.

    Front of the car rode up over a drift, pulled left and I got stuck. I had to walk about a 1/2 mile to find a house so I could call Dad to pull me out.

    He was sooooooooooooooo ticked.

    Only got out because of a community member who happened along with his 4×4 truck and a tow strap.

    • 0 avatar

      You got off easy. For reasons I never discovered, a video file showed up in a project folder on a company server. There were several hella drunk young guys b!tching about a snow mound that a plow driver deposited at the mouth of a long driveway. Blocking driveways and destroying mailboxes is a competitive sport where I live.

      Anyway, one fellow gets into a Chevy Geo subcompact, backs down the driveway at crazy velocity and high-centers on the evidently hard-frozen pile. With much cussing they decide to use a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a “snatch strap” to pull the car off. The Jeep driver stated that the strap was stretchy so it would help get ‘er done. He left a lot of slack in the strap when he gunned it. The rear valence ripped off the car along with the lights. The car, what was left of it, was still perched atop the pile.

      I never did find out who the Darwin contestants were….

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    OK living in Chicago my whole life, I’ve got 2.
    One winter, while pulling into a Denny’s in my ’71 Electra, there was snow-induced understeer and I ended up high-centered on a 3-foot wide concrete median. I tried to power through to the end, but to no avail. A tow truck was called and I was embarrassed.
    I’ll never forget this other one. I was 16 and dating a girl who lived waaaay out in the corn. During a blizzard, her parents were stranded and she was home all alone. She was scared and wanted me to come over, even in such horrible conditions.
    So, being young and dumb and something else, I drove my ’75 Impala through about 35 miles of snowdrifts. It was a miracle that I made it to her house, so I pulled into the driveway and got stuck right away. The next day, it took 5 or 6 hours of digging before I could get it out.
    I used to get stuck a lot when I was young, but it’s been at least 25 years since I’ve needed a winch-out.

  • avatar

    This didn’t happen to me and it wasn’t a truck, but I’ll recount it anyway.

    I worked for a defense contractor that owned their building and had a good maintenance staff. Snow was predicted for the next day so an announcement went out (this was before e-mail) to NOT park at the remote end of the parking lot since Maintenance put the plowed snow there.

    We had an extremely unpleasant employee; as I recall his name was Taras Ballsov or something as appropriate. Mr. Ballsov arrived the next day in his Datsun 280Z and parked right in the middle of the “reserved” area. The maintenance supervisor asked him to move his car and was met with a blistering profanity rant as was typical for good old Taras. The supervisor alerted Personnel about it and was told that “he (Ballsov) was warned”. So it snowed several inches and Maintenance used a Class 4 truck with a plow and a Kubota tractor with a loader bucket to completely entomb his car. Completely.

    Taras found out about it, stormed into the Division VP office and unloaded with the same F-bomb screams he used a few hours before. The VP told him to leave and then called Maintenance to let them know he (the VP) was coming to their shop. Once he got there, he called Taras and told him to get his azz down there. Upon arrival the VP handed him a shovel in front of the entire Maintenance department and told him to start digging.

    Mr. Ballsov instead drove his Ford Escort until the snow mountain melted enough to dig through. By this time it had hardened and some of the paint came off with the ice. When he finally got inside…..the battery was dead.

    I’m not big on schadenfreude but I still laugh about it.

  • avatar

    Never got stuck in one place, but did manage to get myself into a situation in icy weather where there were only two ways out and both of them were hills steep enough that my Ford Taurus SHO on aging Goodyear all-seasons would probably have slid back down. Parked the car in the store parking lot at the bottom of the hills, walked about 8 miles home, waited for the ice to melt, and came back in two days to retrieve it.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    In college and on vacation in Acapulco….you know where this is going, right?

    A friend and myself talked two girls for a night of heavy partying. The unspoken assumption was that we would be able to score a touch down.

    The hotel we were staying had a strict “no outside females” policy. So we headed for -where else? the beach. Found a lonely, completely dark stretch just outside town.

    So we were, to continue with the gratuitous football analogy, 1 yard from touchdown, when one of the girls noticed that the tide was rising, fast.

    The vehicle’s wheels were already being lapped by the first waves. It was a small miracle that 4 drunk youngsters were able to extricate the RWD vehicle from the rapidly liquefying sand.

  • avatar

    It was the winter of 2015 in Atlantic Canada. Anyone else reading that line who lived through it will both remember it and have their PTSD triggered. Winter here didn’t start until the end of January and then for eight weeks, every Wednesday and Sunday (I’m not kidding) we had the mother of all snow storms. In those eight weeks we had 16 feet of snow. (And we didn’t get it nearly as bad as some other places around here.) Apparently that broke an early-60s record. I hope to never experience that again.

    I was heading back to work after lunch (I live close) and by this point in the eight weeks from hell our dead-end street was one lane. This was a Wednesday and it was snowing like a mad bastard. Just as I was getting to the end of the street a huge gust came and I couldn’t see a thing. I slid off the left side of the road and into deep snow. The funny thing was that if that was summer I’d still have been eight feet from the side of the street. I hiked home to get a shovel. I dug and dug to no avail. After a few minutes half of the neighbourhood showed up (the ones smart enough to stay home) and with two snowblowers and lots of shovels and shoving I was back on the road.

    Never again. I work from home on snow days now.

  • avatar

    A couple winters ago my mother called me, saying that she’d had an accident with her new-to-her 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander and needed me to pick her up. She’d skidded on some black ice and gone off the road and down a relatively steep bank into a field, where the car was now stuck. She and the Outlander were fine, and by the time I got there, a tow truck driver was on scene, trying to figure out if he had enough cable to reach the car.

    It was then I find out that dear ol’ mum forgot to hit the 4WD button and still had it in 2WD when she went off the road. So me being me, I leave her with the tow truck driver and take her keys, put it in LOCK, turn off the TC, put the transmission in Low, and it drives right back up the bank without skipping a beat! Mum was ecstatic and the tow truck driver’s jaw nearly hit the ground. I never had the courage to tell mum, but I was only trying to get it closer to the road so the cable would reach. When the front tires hit the slope and it kept going, I just went with the flow of things. To this day I’m honestly amazed it had that kind of capability.

  • avatar

    It was around 2005 and I was supplementing my flight instructor income as a courier driver. I was an independent contractor (like Uber and Lyft, but before all that) so I was using my own car, a 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback.

    I was making a delivery up north of I-80 around Hermitage PA. I had dropped off the package and I still, for the life of me, don’t know how it happened. I was making a turn, I look down at the radio (no smartphone at this time) or something fell in the car, I don’t know. I looked up to see myself slowly going off the side of the road and it was a steep enough drop that the the car listed 10 degrees as it went over. Lucky I went off where I did though, because another 50ft back and the car would have been on its door handles with no chance of getting out.

    I got out, which wasn’t easy. All four wheels were touching the ground, but the right front was in the mud. I was also slightly high-sided (high-centered?) on the shoulder. I tried rocking the car, but the right front was in mud and had no traction. I was stuck.

    I was going back into the car to get my phone to call AAA when a local in a yellow 4WD Ram stopped ” You need help? I don’t mind at all”. The guy attached a tow strap to the tow hook on the Lancer and I drove forward while he gently pulled me free. I thanked the guy and drove to a coin-op car wash I had passed. For the first mile or so, all I could hear and see was mud hitting the car and flying past my window. I spent 15 minutes and $5 in quarters blasting the mud from that car on a 25 degree day.

    The right front wheel was completely scratched up from trying to get free, but nothing worse than that. That Mitsu served me well, I put 70k on it in 2.5 years and it was totaled when I was rear ended hard at a traffic light. I wasn’t sad to see it go at that point, but I don’t hate Mitsubishi’s because of that car.

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