Off Road Driving Tips - Page
The offroad driving tips on this page are intended to cater for a wide variety
of expedition situations. Some are most appropriate to short day trips on green
lanes or offroad driving centres in the UK, whilst others may be applicable
to seriously challenging remote locations such as may be encountered in outback
Australia. Offroad, there is no substitute for good judgement. Adopt the information
here according to your own particualr circumstances.
Give some thought as to what you
may expect to encounter ahead. Consider how the weather may have affected
your intended route. Should you change your planned route or carry appropriate
gear to cope with it? Rain. snow, ice, drought all have possible implications
for your expedition. Problems are often encountered but some can be
anticipated and their effects reduced.
Walk it first
If you can't see the ground your
tyres are in contact with then the unexpected can happen. Water crossings
can have deep potholes - even if they have a concrete base. Long grass
can have ruts, holes and hidden objects. It's a compromise thing - on
a long trip it may not be practical to walk all the hazards so BE AWARE
take it SLOW. Stretch your legs rather than your luck.
Traversing a slippery slope or
riding the crown on a dirt road can lead to your vehicle slipping down
sideways. Turn the vehicle in the direction that the rear end is moving
then apply gentle throttle to gain control and steer back up the slope.
encountered in hot dry regions used by heavy
vehicles. Drive just fast enough to iron out most of the jolting. Driving
fast to give a smooth ride is dangerous as tyres are only fleetingly
in contact with the peaks of the ridges.
You can reach a situation akin to aqua-planing on water. Distance between
corrugations is dictated by soil composition and vehicle useage. There
are 'comforts zones' generally aound 40km/h, 60km/h and 80km/h. Don't
Look well ahead and plan a route to keep the vehicle on as even a keel
as possible. Keep a slow steady pace and try not to stall or stop.
Select the lowest gear possible
and let the engine brake for you. Manual diesel engines brake better
than petrol or automatics. If you have 'hill descent control' use it.
If you really need to apply wheel braking
(e.g very long very steep decline) then do it GENTLY, otherwise the
wheels will lock up and the rear end slide around. VERY DANGEROUS.
Select a gear that will get you to the top at a steady pace. Ease off
as you negotiate any obstacles enroute but don't stall. Charging at
a hill can cause loss of traction, disturbance to vehicle contents and
possible vehicle damage.
Avoid driving through water deeper
than the centre of your wheels. Deeper than this requires special preparation
- more details on this in the tech
driving section of ukoffroad.com.
For soft sand you can drop tyre pressures down to 120kPa to give a larger footprint and thereby spread the vehicle load. BUT you need to pump them soon afterwards to avoid tyre wall damage.
Speed should be kept low to reduce
heat being generated in the tyres.