Are Winches Dangerous When Towing?

Although winches carry remarkable benefits, they can pose a danger to both human beings and the environment.

For instance, electric winches, to be specific, can be a cause of severe electrocution.

Aside from that, winches can cause blisters and hand injuries. So, it is crucial to observe the right practices when dealing with this equipment.

Otherwise, you might have to spend thousands of dollars in hospital.

Fortunately, car experts have outlined several measures to observe when winching out a car from a ditch or heap of snow.

But first, let’s look at some of the dangers posed by winches.

What makes a winch dangerous?

Winches cause environmental degradation

Suppose you’re using a living tree to recover a stuck vehicle; avoid tying the winch rope directly to the living tree.

Doing this not only damages the tree but can also strain and wear out the winch rope. Think about it.

When the winch rope tears in the middle of the winching process, you end up consuming more time and effort. Also, you might end up hurting yourself.

Besides, it is crucial to take part in environmental conservation. I mean, you definitely don’t want to erode the tree trunk.

So, when winching, always ensure you use a tree trunk protector to protect the tree. Ensure you use the tree trunk protector correctly.

Winches can lead to severe electrocution

Failure to wrap the winch with a bulky blanket or any other accessory that can absorb electric current may be dangerous.

Hanging a blanket or tow strap over the winch rope protects you in case of a worn-out or open cable. Other than a blanket, you can use a wide range of accessories to weigh a steel winch rope.

Additionally, using these weights prevent any accidents in case the steel winch cable falls.

The winch rope will likely land on the weight rather than anyone standing nearby.

Moreover, in case of any other extra electric current, the blankets and other accessories would absorb the electric current.

Winches pose health risks

During the winching process, ensure that you wear the right protective garments.

Note that winching is an intense hands-on project. So, do your best to protect your hands as much as you can.

The first thing to note is that you should never touch a winch rope without protective gloves, especially when it’s on.

You run the risk of electrocution. Also, when winching, there is a lot of friction involved.

This can lead to blisters, cuts, and bruises. In fact, if you’re not careful, you might end up losing one or two fingers in the process.

So, all in all, winching is dangerous to your health. But wearing heavy-duty gloves goes a long way in protecting your hands.

Remember, most winch ropes are synthetic. Thus, they are not friendly to the skin.

Safety practices to observe

Do not Sideload a D-ring shackle:

Avoid side loading a D-ring shackle during the winching process.

Typically, a D-ring shackle is specially made to carry 90-degree loads.

Loading the D-ring shackle differently would make the winching process ineffective.

Avoid standing close to any loaded winch line:

Do not hang out around the winch rope. Anything can happen.

The winch line can accidentally fall and land on you. As a result, you can get electrocuted.

Also, always leave some distance whenever you are winching your car out of a ditch. It is always safer to avoid standing near the winch cable.

Which winch accessory absorbs energy if the cable breaks?

A heavy Blanket or recovery damper

The main winch accessory that is likely to protect you in case the winch rope breaks is a heavy blanket.

All you have to do is place the blanket correctly between the anchor point and the winch itself.

So, typically you have to place it at the center of the winch cable. Once you do this, the blanket takes in all the excessive electric current that can cause electrocution.

Additionally, if a winch rope breaks, the heavy blanket would be the one to absorb the energy.

Consequently, everyone involved in the winching process will be safe.

Alternatively, you can incorporate a recovery damper in place of a heavy blanket. It works perfectly fine.

Moreover, note that you should position the heavy blanket before you switch on the electric winch.

Also, after winching, only remove the blanket or recovery damper when the winch cable is loose.

Other Accessories you should use when winching out a car

Heavy-duty gloves:

Always protect your skin by wearing heavy-duty gloves whenever you are winching a car.

Synthetic and steel winch cables can irritate your skin as they can lead to cuts and blisters.

Besides using heavy-duty gloves, you can use leather gloves as well.

Hook Strap:

When winching, you can use a hook strap to hold the rope.

This way, you will avoid pulling the winch cable directly with your hands.

Holding a hook strap is much safer than holding the hook of the winch directly.

Tree Trunk Protector:

If you are using a tree to winch out a car, always use a tree trunk protector. This way, you won’t attach the winch rope directly to the tree.

Instead, you wrap the tree trunk with the protector as per the instruction manual.

Then, you will attach the winch rope with the tree trunk protector. As a result, you protect the trunk from damage. Failure to do so will cause damage to the tree.

Snatch Block:

Never forget to use a snatch block whenever you winch out a car. Snatch blocks often increase the pulling capacity of the winch.

Thus, it helps you consume less time and effort when you are winching out a car.

Moreover, if your vehicle is stuck in a complicated angle, snatch blocks go a long way in easing the recovery process.


As much as winches offer a broad spectrum of advantages, they can pose a danger to both humans and the environment.

So, it is important to observe all the safety measures when winching a car.

Wear the right protective garments and use the right winching accessories that protect you and simplify the winching process.

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