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Muddy car parks and roads

Stuck in the mud? Here's how to get out

Tips for car parks and muddy roads

Rain and bad weather can turn roads, fields and temporary car parks into swamps. And if you're driving on them, you can end up quite literally stuck in the mud.

Many big events, like festivals, fairs and exhibitions, rely on turning open fields into temporary car parks. So read on to find out the best way to get a car out of mud if the rain comes down.

Muddy car parks


How to get a car out of mud

  • Give your tyres some room to manoeuvre by moving your steering wheel back and forth.
  • Try not to spin the wheels – pull away in second gear for lower revs and better traction.
  • Try to keep moving to maintain momentum once you’ve got going, especially if you’re on a slope.
  • Drive slowly at first to shed the excess mud from your tyres, before safely driving back at a normal speed.
  • Stay out of 'tramlines' created by other vehicles if you can.

If you’re still stuck in the mud, try some of these handy hints.

  • Place cardboard in front of the wheels to help give your tyres extra grip – you can even use car mats for a similar effect.
  • Avoid sudden movements when towing – the person towing should ease away slowly to take up the slack before moving off.

Advice for a muddy festival

So, the festival is over. Voices may be hoarse, showers need to be had. Only you make it back to your car and it’s obvious you’re facing a sticky situation. How can you easily and speedily leave a festival when the ground's muddy?

  • Accept that it'll take a long time to get out of the car parks – up to several hours at some events.
  • If the car park is gridlocked by cars, be patient and switch off your engine when appropriate to save fuel.
  • Offer help to others who may need it.
  • Make sure your towing eye is accessible before trying to move off. This'll save you time later if you need a tow out of the mud. It's usually stored in the boot with the jack, and screws in by removing a small plastic cover in the bumper.
  • Change into clean shoes or wipe off the ones you’re wearing – muddy wellies can easily slip on the pedals.
  • Look out for people there to help. You'll often find dedicated teams at big events, so you might be in luck with some professionals ready to lend a helping hand.
  • Once there's some space cleared up, try out the advice listed above.

Mud carpark chris p


How to drive in mud

Regularly driving to or from outdoor festivals, concerts, country shows or sports matches in Britain means it's a matter of 'when' and not 'if' you'll encounter muddy, waterlogged conditions. These are some general tips to remember when you find yourself driving in the mud.

Use a lower gear
  • If you're driving a manual, drive in second or third gear to keep a steady pace. 

Avoid sudden braking or accelerating 
  • Tyres lose traction if you slam on the brakes suddenly.
  • You need a steady pace to safely drive through a slippery, muddy surface.
  • When you have to accelerate or brake, make sure you do it gently.
  • Sudden braking could also cause your tyres to skid. 

Can mud damage my car?

Once you get free from your sticky situation, make some time to wash your car as soon as you can. Thick mud underneath the vehicle can increase the risk of corrosion and is best hosed off sooner rather than later.

Dried-on dirt can build up on your car and be harder to clean off. When left for too long, there's more risk of chipping the paint when you come to clean it off. This’ll not only make your car look unloved, but it can impact the resale value if you come to sell it.


Do cars need mud guards?

Mud guards, sometimes known as mud flaps or splash guards, can protect your vehicle against mud and other loose debris thrown up by the tyres as you're driving.

There's no legal requirement to install mudguards, but they can prove especially useful if you're driving on roads with rocks, mud and other debris. They help to block the grit and debris flung up by the wheels, protecting the sides and underneath of your car from chips and corrosion.

A possible downside of installing a mud guard is an increased fuel consumption because of the added drag.


Help's at hand

You’ll see a dedicated AA team at big events, like Glastonbury. They're there to help if you get into difficulty or your car breaks down.

If you need to call us out, ring
0800 88 77 66

The AA app is the best way to contact us, as we can find your exact location using your phone's GPS. Find out more or download it now.




Published: 14 Sept 2016 | Updated: 22 August 2019

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