There are few things more nerve-wracking than having your machine get stuck. Being in the middle of a job and not being able to move is an operator’s nightmare. So what should you do if that happens, other than try not to panic? The thing you run into with heavy equipment is that they are exactly that; heavy. You’re going to need to be pulled out, but there’s more to it than that. Read on to find out what to do when your rig gets stuck: 

If your rig is stuck, you’re likely going to need to be pulled out by another, bigger, machine. The first thing you need to figure out is the strength of your rope, straps, or chains. Never assume that they’re going to be strong enough. That means the old pile of chains or rope in your storage box is probably not going to work. Depending on where you’re stuck, the pulling vehicle will need to be rated for 1 to 1.5 times the weight of the stuck equipment. Always inspect the straps for fraying or the chains for stretched or broken links. 

Remember: There is a difference between tow and “recover” straps. A tow strap has no give, as it’s used to keep a vehicle a certain distance behind. Recovery straps allow for stretching under tension, which allows it to pull the stuck vehicle out. 

Make sure that when you connect your straps, rope, or chain, that it’s attached to something that will hold. For example, a tow hook, or to the frame of the vehicle. Otherwise, you may be finding pieces of your rig before you get it out of the snow. 

Heavy equipment is, well, heavy. If you’re stuck, try to remove as much excess weight as possible, giving yourself a fighting chance of getting unstuck. And when all is said and done, store your straps, rope, or chains properly. While it’s tempting to throw in a pile in the box of your vehicle, or on the shop floor, not storing them properly can cause them to break down and be of no good use to you.

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