How to drive a car through muddy roads?

Article by Christian A., on September 3, 2018

The difficulty of driving through muddy roads is different for diverse types of vehicles. Some vehicles, especially those equipped with all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive systems and off-road tires, can traverse through muddy roads with great amount of ease.

However, standard vehicles, in particular those equipped with front-wheel and rear-wheel drives as well as standard tires (not fit for off-road travels), might have difficulty in traversing muddy roads, depending on the spread and the depth of the mud. It is advisable for an average car avoid muddy roads in which the mud is more than two inches in depth.

Of course, it would be impossible to exactly measure the depth of mud on the road. Likewise, it would be hard to precisely estimate how much mud is on the road. When you are driving car ill-equipped for muddy roads, it is advisable to take an alternate route where the road isn't as muddy. But when you really have to take on a muddy road, you can do so safely by following the guidelines below.

1. Survey or gauge the situation

The views from the driver’s seat and from up close are quite different. It is always better to get a closer look at the road condition. If possible, get out of your car and try to inspect the road ahead. Of course, you should park your car safely first.

During inspection, test the depth of the mud and find out if there are portions of the road where the car can traverse without getting stuck. Then, it is up to you to decide whether to proceed or not.

2. Reduce the air pressure in your tire

Using a tire gauge, let some air out of the tires to a pressure of between 18 psi and 20 psi in each rubber. Lower air pressure would allow more tire tread to be in contact with the ground, resulting to better traction as the car moves through the mud. When the car is back on clear roads, it is better increase the pressure to the appropriate level at the nearest service station.

3. Drive slowly and steadily

Mastering optimal speed on muddy roads couldn’t be achieved in a short time. If you drive too fast, the car may slide out of control. But if you drive too slow, you may get stuck on the mud. The actual speed would totally depend on the situation, but it is advisable to drive at speeds of between 5 mph and 10 mph on muddy roads. Of course, patience is needed when driving on muddy roads.

4. Avoid traversing on deep mud tracks on the road

Also called ruts, these mud tracks are the places where your car might get stuck. When passing on muddy roads, you may choose to traverse on places where there are no deep tracks.

5. Methods to get out

If your car got stuck on the mud or rut, you can try a number of methods to get out. First, you can gently accelerate the car while rocking your body back and forth. Second, exit the car and find some wood, twigs, sticks, stones or similar materials and place them in front of the wheels. This will create traction and allow you to get out of the mud. Third, call for help and have your car towed.

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