You’re jetting along a snowy trail on your CFMOTO ATV, taking joy in whipping up powder but watching the road ahead for obstacles like a responsible driver should. It’s wintertime, a tough season for wildlife, so who knows what could jump out at you. Then suddenly, you’re stuck!
It’s an unfortunate reality: No matter what ATV brand you’re driving and no matter how well you take care of the engine, human error or tricky terrain can get the best of you. It’s a risk you take every time you hit the trails, no matter the weather – multiple conditions can lead to a stranded ATV – but that risk becomes much more sizable when you’re cruising through thick powder.
While this blog focuses on sticky and snowy situations, many of the skills described below can also be used to mitigate muddy messes. Here’s what to do when your ATV gets stuck.
First of all, quit flooring the accelerator. You’re just digging yourself in deeper.
Flooring it alone gets you nowhere, just like it would with a stuck car. You’ve got no traction currently beneath your wheels – it’s why you’re stuck in the first place. Accept it.
Unless you’re alone with no riding buddies or cell phone (which you should never do!), there’s no reason to panic. You can get your machine out of this, and if you can’t do it yourself with these tips, you can call for more help.
If you can’t help but freak out a little, take some deep breaths and remember that getting stuck happens to everyone at least once. You’ll need to think calmly, clearly, and critically about your escape plan, and while it’s not necessary to be completely relaxed, if you fly off the handle you could just make the problem worse.
Once you’ve accepted your situation and cooled your jets a little, then the real work begins.
It seems silly, but so many ATV riders launch straight into trying to get their ATV unstuck without seeing that, upon completion, their vehicle will just end up in even less favorable terrain! Before busting out any equipment, visualize your approach and where your CFMOTO ATV will end up, where your tools will end up, and where you will end up.
Is the plan you have feasible? Are you likely to break anything or crash? Will you be able to maneuver your CFMOTO ATV safely back onto the trail if you’ll end up off of it? Remember, snow can obscure obstacles, so don’t assume terrain is safe.
Remember how we said accelerating gets you nowhere? That’s true only if you’re not rocking. Swaying back and forth on your ATV while accelerating can get your tires the smidgen of traction they need for your engine to rocket you out of a snowy rut.
Many CFMOTO ATVs come standard with a winch – an otherwise expensive investment, but one that’s incredibly useful. Anchor your winch to a buddy or a sturdy tree and be thankful for such a handy piece of equipment. With luck and an up to 3,000-lb capacity, it should pull you right out.
If you don’t have a winch, heavy-duty straps or a come-along can solve the problem in a pinch. However, nothing beats the strength of a CFMOTO machine – you’re far safer on the trails with a pre-installed winch than you would be with tiny hand-powered tools. Plus, you’ll need to remember to take them on every ride, opening you up to real hairy situations otherwise, while a winch goes where your vehicle does.
Well, there should be, seeing as we recommend to always ride with a buddy to prevent snow hazards. If anchoring isn’t safe or doesn’t work, a folding shovel can help you dig your ride out.