A couple years ago I was driving from my house in a snowstorm in my Impala. I cam across a guy stuck in the middle of the road and almost hit him as visibility was pretty bad. I said I would come back with my pickup and pull him out, but while backing down the road in this storm, I ended up backing right into the ditch... so I walked back to get my pickup. He had a pretty new impala and I gave him the end of the strap and said "hook it up." He hooked it up to the rear stabilizer link (not sure if that is the correct term, but it was a round rod about 3 feet long and 1/2" diameter going to the rear hub). I said "I don't know about that" but he did it anyway. I was behind him on the road and pulled him backwards. It bent the arm like rubber, then while pulling I hit a new formed drift behind me (it was blowing hard and a 16" drift developed in about 6 minutes) so I lost momentum. I had a 30' strap, but when he got traction he kept going and plowed right into me. No damage to my truck but the plastic bumper, truck lid, taillight on his car were toasted. Then he tells me that it was a rental car and he had been visiting one of my neighbors from another state.:eek: I felt bad, but what was I to do... that's why I don't hook up to others' cars. Incidently, he called my neighbor that he had been visiting and he came with his diesel pickup with better tires and looked at him and said "no way", but he did pull out my car.
Depending on the direction of the pull it may or may not. Doesnt take much to make it stop turning and start sliding through the snow though either. A lot of times I have the customers just leave the vehicles in park and pull them out, there really is no reason for them to be in neutral and I have entire control of the vehicle. I dont want any "help" from the stuck vehicle or person in the car. They've proved they already cant drive. Snow is a different animal than just dry ground thats for sure. The stuck car has little traction, so you really need to pull them straight up out of the ditch as possible. If you pull parallel with the ditch chances are the stuck car will just plane along side as there is no directional traction to get it up and out. This is all common sense just like anything.
I just pulled a car out of the ditch this morning. Bent down to dig out under the car for a good hook point and noticed her tires had NO tread on them what-so-ever. Im talking no trace of any distinguishable pattern at all. I get her out and mentioned to her she really, really needs tires and she owes me 125$ for the service. She literally whips out around a grand in cash and pays me the 125$. Why she has bald tires driving in the peak of our winter season at 3AM with a grand of cash in her wallet i'll never understand.
Last time I got stuck pulling a trailer of wood on a soft road it didn't go well. I attached to the frame because there was no hook. The tow worked fine but the rope slipped and knocked the O2 sensor out of the manifold.
When the tow truck came because my van died 1 km further down the road, he said he always uses the lower control arm if he can't find a tow hook. He said it is one of the stronger parts on the van. Might not be true for smaller cars but it would have saved me a couple hundred bucks if I had used the control arm the first time.
There have been a couple of times when we have found someone stuck while launching/recovering their boat that we have them fish the tow rope under their vehicle and back to the trailer hitch.
Been years since I have ventured off road in a vehicle without a tow hook.....
I have always tied onto the frame member furthest from the road on the stuck vehicle, then center of the pulling vehicle. learned it long ago off roading. if you tie onto the side closest to the road, the stuck vehicle has a tendency to follow the ditch and changing the angle on the pulling vehicle is less apt to help.
The idea to snatch the wheel in the ditch onto firmer ground, by tying off on the furthest corner from the road, the weight is lifted from the stuck wheel and a steeper angle of attack can be used, typically tighter than the stuck vehicles turning radius to get it out of the ditch. this theory applies 99% of the time, but its important to look it over thoroughly to prevent damage. Also one more rule of thumb is the keep the pulling distance to a minimum lessening any damage.
Here's a sad story from today's St Louis paper. It is a reminder to pay attention when un-stucking cars with a tractor:
St. Louis police sergeant dies in tractor accident at her home : News
The comment on the police officer getting crushed under the tractor . When hooking to a tractor , hook as low as possible , if you can hook to the front under the tractor even better if it is a light pull. Try to pull and keep front end down too..