How to Use a Bulldozer & Not Get Stuck in Wet Areas

Bulldozers, or crawler tractors, are useful for earth-moving operations in demanding environments. Because they operate on tracks rather than wheels, they distribute their weight more evenly over the drive surfaces and are less susceptible to becoming stuck in mud and loose fill. While tracked vehicles are well-suited to operating in muddy environments, a common misconception is that they can never get stuck. In fact, bulldozers can get stuck and are very hard to get out once they are. Observing a few common-sense safety rules can help keep you safe while operating tracked heavy equipment in wet conditions.

Although they are rugged machines, bulldozers require operating with care to avoid getting stuck.
  1. Examine government-issued maps of your work site to determine whether there may be any hidden structures left from past facilities. Be especially careful of septic tanks, drainage ditches and cisterns. Your bulldozer could fall into these water-filled hazards and become stuck.

  2. Walk the site before beginning to operate your bulldozer. Holes, bogs and other hazards can be hidden by high brush. Pay special attention around any old buildings that may still be there.

  3. Identify any wet areas on the site. Pay special attention to low and uneven ground.

  4. Push a stake into the ground in the wet areas using your hand. If you are able to push it in easily for several feet, you should avoid using a bulldozer in that area.

  5. Match the size your bulldozer to the size of the job. Small bulldozers are cheaper to rent and fuel, and they are easier to retrieve if they become stuck.

  6. Call a professional excavation company if you feel uneasy about the job. You can still oversee the work without risking injury to yourself or expensive equipment.


  • Always follow the advice found in the operator's manual that came with your bulldozer.
  • Never drive your bulldozer through standing water without determining the depth and the ground's consistency first.
  • Always consult public records to ensure that you do not hit gas, electricity or water lines.

About the Author

Aaron Wheeler has been involved in professional writing since 2006, both in marketing and traditional news media. He currently lives in upstate New York and works as one of the editors at "The Livingston County News." Wheeler studied history at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa.