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Three Places You Should Always Have Traction Mats

Traction mats prevent vehicle tires from spinning in snow, mud, or wet sand.
Traction mats prevent vehicle tires from spinning in snow, mud, or wet sand. (Maxsa Innovations/)

It doesn’t matter whether you drive a high-clearance pickup or an electric golf-cart—if it has four wheels and a motor, it can get stuck. One of the easiest ways to prevent bogging down is to always carry a pair of traction mats. These handy, nestable pads provide a layer of extra-rugged tread between the ground and the tire to give you just enough traction to pull out of the stickiest spots. They are lightweight and easily store in the trunk of any car or behind the seat of a truck. Here are a few situations where they are indispensable.

Off-Road

Traction mats can help you get unstuck if there’s nobody around with a tow strap or winch.
Traction mats can help you get unstuck if there’s nobody around with a tow strap or winch. (Maxsa Innovations/)

Off-road and overland enthusiasts have long known the value of packing traction mats on every excursion. From the desert to the deer woods, they are an ace in the hole for getting unstuck when there is no one else around to assist with a tow strap or winch.

Beach Driving

Partially deflate your tires before using a traction mat for the best results.
Partially deflate your tires before using a traction mat for the best results. (Maxtrax/)

There are two rules for beach driving. The first is to partially deflate your tires to prevent spinning in soft sand. The second is to carry traction mats. When you are spinning in sand up to your lug nuts with no driftwood, rocks, or other solid material around, a pair of traction mats are worth their weight in gold.

Snow and Mud

Spinning tires made icy surfaces even slicker, so use a traction mat before you get into a spot you can’t get out.
Spinning tires made icy surfaces even slicker, so use a traction mat before you get into a spot you can’t get out. (X-Bull/)

Snow and ice are perhaps the easiest mediums in which to run afoul. And once you start to spin, it’s like quicksand: the more you try to help yourself, the worse you make it. Traction mats are no substitute for four-wheel drive or snow tires, but they can certainly take a great deal of worry out of winter driving.

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