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Whether you are parking your vehicle on your lawn or offroading with an ATV, no one wants to deal with getting stuck in the mud. This situation proves inconvenient at best and can be distressing if you are riding out in the remote wilderness. 

Today, we’re going to focus on what offroading enthusiasts can do if their motorsports vehicle is trapped in the mud. These tips should help you approach this scenario with greater peace of mind and a tangible action plan to return to riding safely as soon as possible. 

Avoid Offroading in the Rain, if Possible 

The best way to prevent mud from interrupting your offroading ventures is to avoid riding when it rains. Not only will it increase the chances of thicker and deeper mud, but rainy weather can also create other obstacles like: 

  • Vision impairments from droplets and fog
  • Slicker riding surfaces like wet grass and leaves
  • Safety hazards like flash floods 

We recommend crisp, dry days as the ideal riding conditions. You will be able to venture out in a comfortable climate and your vehicle can create better traction against the hard ground.

How to Prepare to Remove Your Vehicle from Mud Before Riding 

You cannot predict whether your offroad vehicle will get trapped in mud, but you can plan for such a scenario in advance. Here are some items you might want to consider bringing along with you for your next excursion. 

A Shovel 

One way to remove a stuck vehicle from its muddy entrapment would be to dig it out with a shovel. You could either store a full-sized one in your car or truck or you could pack a collapsible one in a bag that you ride with. 

A Towing Mechanism 

If you use a truck or SUV to transport your offroad vehicle, you could include a towing mechanism to pull your vehicle out of the mud. A chain and hook that can attach to both vehicles would be the simplest option. 

There is one downside to this method, however. To tow your ATV from the mud, your truck would have to be able to reach where it is stuck. 

A Ramp 

If you are able to, keep a large flat piece of hard material like plywood in your truck bed. If the mud is shallow enough, you can potentially wedge the board under the tires and create a ramp out. Again, like with towing mechanisms, you would have to be able to carry your ramp to the site where your offroad vehicle is stuck. 

Tell Someone You Trust Where You Are Riding 

If you are riding out in the wilderness, especially alone, contact a friend or family member and provide them with the following details: 

  • When you are leaving to go riding 
  • Where you will be offroading 
  • When you expect to return

You should also share your phone’s location with them and plan to call or text this person when you are leaving. Additionally, ask them to call emergency services if they do not hear from you after a certain time of the day or range of hours. By following these steps, you can ensure that this individual knows that you have ventured out into the wilderness and that you are engaging in an activity that could be potentially high-risk. 

If Your Vehicle is Stuck in the Mud, Remain Calm 

Despite our human nature telling us otherwise, the best action you can take in the midst of an aggravating event is to remain calm. When your ATV or other offroading vehicle is stuck in mud, take a moment to assess the situation. Is the mud shallow enough that you can push the vehicle out? Will you need to dig around the tires? 

Calmly and carefully analyze the vehicle and see which tires are stuck. Sometimes, it may only be one or two. If this is the case, you will have an easier time removing the vehicle from the mud because at least some of the tires have traction. 


In most cases, a vehicle becomes trapped in mud when the ground is not solid enough for the tires to create traction. With cars and trucks, most people try to manually push the vehicle onto drier ground. If that doesn’t work, the next-best option is to either dig the wheels out, create a ramp with some flat material, or call a tow truck for assistance. 

Try Slowly Driving Your Offroad Vehicle Out of the Mud 

Offroading vehicles are built for speed, but sometimes the fast tire revolutions can make driving out of mud more difficult. Instead, try to slowly rev the engine and move forward. If you are with someone else, see if they can also push behind the vehicle to provide extra momentum. 

Push the Vehicle Out Yourself

Depending on the weight of your offroad vehicle and how deep it is stuck in the mud, you may also be able to push or pull it out of the mud by yourself. Do any pushing/lifting with your knees and not your back to prevent any injury. 

If You Need to Leave the Vehicle, Plan a Way Back to It 

No one wants to abandon their vehicle when offroading, but sometimes you need to leave it where it is to retrieve tools to help free it from the rut. You may also be in a wooded area where phone reception is spotty at best and you need to find a clearing to place a call. 

No matter the reason, plan a way to find your vehicle again if you need to leave it temporarily. You can do this by creating your own trail markers or by saving the location in a maps application on your phone with the goal to retrace your steps later. 

Nothing’s Working? Call for Help 

Contact someone you know first to see if they can help you. Tell them where you are and explain your predicament. If they are unable to travel to your location and provide assistance, tell them the specific or general area where you are and plan to notify them once your vehicle has been freed from the mud. 

Even if the person you contacted cannot help you, you have provided them with a location and the details of your situation. This way, if they do not hear back from you for a long period of time, they can contact the authorities. If you can share, your phone’s location with them so they can provide to emergency services if they are concerned with your safety. 

Should you find yourself in the wilderness with little to no cellular reception, you should start by calling 911. Most emergency service calls in the United States can be placed even in remote areas where standard reception may be difficult to obtain. Turn on your phone’s location and provide your phone number and location details to the dispatcher. If you need to be rescued, they can use this information to help find you. 

Other reasons you may want to call 911 if your vehicle is stuck: 

  • You need a towing service to remove it from the mud 
  • You are injured and cannot make your way out of the area
  • You are lost and disoriented and are unable to navigate back to your transport vehicle 
  • You are in a state of general distress and cannot resolve the issue 

Check Out These Other Helpful Resources

At Switchback, we are passionate about connecting Idaho residents with high-performance motorsports vehicles to help them pursue a desire for adventure. To help accomplish this goal, our team possesses an incredible knowledge of our local area and we work hard to bring you insightful content on our website. 

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