Going off road in sand, mud, soft dirt, etc. can present various terrain challenges, all of which require different considerations in order to minimize the risk to you and your vehicle and maximize your safety.
Following are 6 tips that will help you avoid getting your vehicle stuck in sand, mud, or soft dirt:
1. Do a Physical Inspection if Possible
If it is possible, get out of your vehicle and do a physical inspection of the road so that you can get a better idea of the path conditions ahead. Doing this will alert you to unusual conditions and allow you to plan your route accordingly so you can avoid hazards.
2. Try to Drive in a Straight Line
It is recommended that you try to drive in a straight line wherever possible. If you have inspected the road conditions, then you should be able to map out some straight-line paths to traverse the track that you have decided upon.
3. Maintain Momentum
While you should drive slowly when it comes to sand, mud, or soft dirt, the most important thing is that you maintain a steady momentum. If you are driving in mud, then it is recommended that you don’t select a gear that is too low. Ease off the throttle if the wheels begin to spin and allow them to regain traction as they slow down. A low gear is usually better when you are driving in sand at dawn when it is typically at its firmest.
4. Know Where Your Wheels Are Pointed
Look out for deep ruts when driving in mud. It is recommended that you know where the front wheels of your vehicle are pointing. This is because the tires will naturally follow the rut’s direction. If the front wheels of your vehicle suddenly enter a dry patch, they will quickly regain traction. This could shake your vehicle out of the rut very quickly, hence causing damage. That’s why it is recommended that you point the wheels in the direction of the rut.
5. Slightly Deflate Your Tires
When driving in mud, deep sand, or soft dirt, it is recommended that you slightly deflate your tires to make sure that they have maximum contact with the ground. Doing this will give you better traction but the clearance will now be relatively lower. This means if you drive over rough terrain that has deep potholes, the tires will have occasional contact with the ground. Because of this, it is recommended that you drive slowly. Don’t forget to reinflate your tires afterwards.
6. Avoid Using Brakes
Avoid using brakes while driving in mud or sand. Slow down your vehicle if you need to stop and it will eventually come to rest. This will help you avoid creating a deep rut which can make things difficult. And if you are traversing sand dunes, then it is recommended that you avoid traveling at an angle. Always drive straight up and straight down.
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