If you’ve never gotten your truck stuck in the mud while towing your fifth wheel or travel trailer consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Those who have been RVing for a while have undoubtedly faced the frustrating situation of having to push, pull, and tug until their tow vehicle is free from a muddy situation. The good news, however, is that with a little preparation you can actually prevent yourself from ever being in such a predicament.
Of course getting stuck in the mud isn’t something you do intentionally. Sometimes it happens when you’re parked and a heavy downpour soaks the ground, ultimately creating a muddy, soupy mess. Other times you might pull off onto a soft shoulder, not realizing the situation you just got yourself into.
Let’s say you’re heading to your destination and need to pull off the road for some reason or another. It might seem easy to just pull onto the shoulder or into a side parking lot, but this seemingly innocent decision can easily turn into a frustrating situation. Pulling onto the side of the road is not only a surefire way to sink into a soft shoulder, but also extremely dangerous as you are exposed to passing vehicles speeding by. Similarly, avoid pulling into parking lots you don’t know the geography of. These side of the road lots often have deep potholes and a lot of dirt. Stick to local rest areas or Wal-Mart parking lots to protect your tow vehicle, RV, and your family.
Once you’ve made it to your destination it’s important to survey the area and check out any potential pitfalls. Look for any large potholes. Use a stick to check the depth if driving over the area isn’t possible. Be aware of any deep ruts caused by other drivers and try to avoid them. These tend to have the softest mud and are more slippery, which makes getting stuck much easier.
If the area appears safe to drive in the next key is to take it slow and steady. Moving too fast decreases your traction and can cause you to lose control of your tow vehicle. If you feel yourself losing traction do not accelerate. Instead, take your foot off of the gas pedal if you’re heading downhill or keep it steady if you’re heading uphill. Gunning it will only spin your wheels and dig you deeper into the mud. It’s also wise to drive on high ground whenever possible. These areas are less muddy because water flows downward and doesn’t have as much time to absorb into the ground.
If prevention doesn’t work and you find yourself stuck in the mud there are a couple easy ways to get out of the situation. The first is to use gravel to fill the pothole or muddy area you’re in to gain traction and elevate your tires. If you’re unsure of how to get out of the situation it might be best to just call a tow truck.
No RVer ever wants to think about the issues they might encounter while RVing, but doing so can save you money and time, so you can get back to making memories with your family. And remember, if you ever see another RVer who is stuck or experiencing technical issues reach out to them so they don’t feel helpless like you might have felt.