Car park mud

What if rain strikes at a summer event?

Rain can quickly turn a field full of cars into a slippery, muddy bog

Rain can quickly turn a field full of cars into a slippery, muddy bog

If you're lucky enough to be going to one of the summer's big outdoor shows – music festival, concert, county show or sports event – chances are you'll be parked on a temporary grass car park.

This is perfectly fine if the weather stays dry – just make sure you can remember where to find the car – but if the rain comes it can quickly turn a field full of cars into a slippery, muddy bog.

If you're at one of these events and get into difficulty you can call our dedicated Festival line (0800 072 3642).

Here's how to cope

Be patient – accept that it'll take a long time to get out of the car parks – up to several hours at some events – and especially on mud, you won't be going anywhere in a hurry, so be patient and offer help to those who need it.

The right footwear – don't drive wearing muddy wellies as your feet could slip on the pedals – put on some clean shoes.

Try not to spin the wheels – pull away in second, not first, gear where possible to aid traction (lower revs help prevent wheel spin) – or in larger automatics, select 'D2' – and just use the accelerator very gently.

Traction aid – cardboard placed in front of the driven wheels will help aid traction (car mats can be used as a last resort!).

Keep moving – once moving, try to maintain momentum, especially if on an incline.

Stay on the flat stuff – try to stay out of 'tramlines' created by other vehicles, particularly if they're full of mud.

On tow – if you need a tow, you’ll need access to the towing eye – most are now stored with the jack and other tools in the boot and have to be screwed in after first removing a small plastic cover in the bumper. Make sure you know where yours is and how to fit it, and check for corrosion or weakness before use.

Work out a plan – make sure you know where the person towing you intends to go and keep a close eye on them – agree on hand signals or other means of communication to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Slow and smooth – avoid sudden movements when towing – the person towing should ease away slowly bringing the rope under tension before proceeding.

Help is at hand

You will see a dedicated AA team at many of the big events this summer – remember that they're there to help if you get into difficulty or your car breaks down.

We also try to deploy our Special Operations Response Team (AA SORT) to events or areas where large numbers of vehicles are likely to be affected by severe weather.

According to Darron Burness, Operations Manager for AA SORT, "Things are never rushed at a summer festival, never more so than when you're sliding around in the mud!

"But, there are a few tricks that will help drivers get to grips with the conditions. First of all, put on some clean shoes – no driving in muddy wellies – and take it easy with the right foot. Try pulling away in second gear to reduce wheel spin and, if you get stuck, placing some cardboard in front of the driven wheels can help regain grip or even car mats can be used as a last resort!

If the car park is gridlocked by cars, be patient and switch off your engine when appropriate to save fuel.

AA patrols were in the thick of it at the Isle of Wight festival in 2012 where the car parks were muddy even as people started to arrive.


(22 October 2012)

 

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