Has anyone ever successfully used one of these snow/mud/ice traction “mats” or devices?
Something like or similar to this, maybe a bit wider or a little longer, but same basic concept.
Saw it on one of those lists of car essentials during winter and it seems like an ingenious idea. I have a RWD car that’s prone to getting stuck on street parking in our icy, nasty Chicago winters. Would this actually work? It seems like such a basic idea, making me wonder, why haven’t I heard of this before? What’s the pitfall with it, price aside? Any experience with it here? I ordered one, should come in a few days, as it already started snowing here.
Why bother with these when all you need is a flat shovel?
How does it work?
Heck, back in the day I fed the car's floor mats under the drive tires to get unstuck a couple times. Worked better than cat litter!
Ive been keeping lighter and more flexible (but not foldable) ones in my trunk for many cold long winters, and more than once they did help me get out of deep snowy and icy tracks or holes in occasional offroad situations. To me, this is a nice alternative to just having aggressive winter tires which would be not good for daily driving on regular roads.
So the basic principle behind these simple devices is good, and mine work great. Never needed them in summer with my AWD. And - yes, it is best to have a couple of them.
Mine are however of a much simpler mesh-like and flat design, and still do their job perfectly, so the ones on your picture are visually sort of an overkill for normal situations, and are probably designed for heavy offroading. Will not provide a photo of my mats, since mine are so old that they are no more available.
So if I were you I would look for some less Safari expedition-like traction mats, basing my selection mostly on dimensions and how I can store them in my car in a convinient and non-disturbing way. Carrying along huge pieces of smth, which take space and which you might use not every year, appears to have not much sense.
The basic idea is you put one under each of your drive wheels and then slowly drive over it to get out, then put them back on or in your car. I have a Grand Marquis so I’d use them under the rear wheels with traction control turned off. Mine also does not have a limited slip differential, so you could also put two of them under the right wheel to make it longer.
in regards to space, it’s about three feet long per pad, I don’t think this model folds. The trunk is plenty big to store them both. But in any case I could always just throw them in the back seat on the floor because I don’t generally have third or fourth passengers.
I’ll be sure to post an update if and when I use them.
I keep a couple of smaller fold-able ones for icy conditions. I feel like the super big ones are used mostly for sand and mud when you dig yourself in a hole. I don't think I have seen anybody use the big ones for street conditions, not that you couldn't. I admit that the off brand ones that are rated well are getting so cheap that I am tempted to get a couple for my GX, just in case.
Let us know how they do, they certainly have their uses.