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Even miles from anywhere there are rules of the road, but mostly these are designed for your protection. Follow these guidelines/hint and you’ll enjoy a safe trip.
- Just as on the street, stay right to avoid oncoming traffic, if there is only room for one vehicle to pass the more experienced driver should always give way.
- When two meet on a gradient and there isn’t a safe place to pull over, the vehicle going up hill has the right of way.
- When driving off-road you should be familiar with how to maneuver your vehicle under different conditions and get yourself out of tight spots.
- Off-road driving is a game of finesse, your goal should be to have minimal impact on the terrain whilst at the same time getting through it unscathed.
- Keep the drivers side of the vehicle close to the obstacles when driving through tight spots. But don’t forget about the rest of it, keep your eye on that too.
- Heavily used tracks often become deeply rutted to the point where it is impossible to drive without getting the undercarriage stuck. Try driving with one wheel on the middle hump or if there is enough room on the side, drive with one wheel on the hump and one on the far side of one of the ruts.
- When you are going to be driving through mud, snow or deep sand, deflate your tires slightly to increase the tires footprint which will provide better traction. but remember to re-inflate them before going off-road again, deflated tires mean less ground clearance. Use steady momentum to carry you through. Keep up your speed and use higher gears. Don’t spin your tires and don’t stop until you are through, if however the tires do start to spin, take your foot off the pedal just a bit, to allow the tires to slow and regain traction.
- If you do lose traction and your vehicle is hardly moving, turn the steering wheel from side to side quickly to allow the tire walls to find a grip.
- If muddy conditions force you to drive in the ruts always know where your wheels are pointing, because your vehicle will follow the ruts even with the wheels turned left or right.
- Remember packed snow crossed in the early morning can be more than difficult when it is soft in the afternoon.
- When approaching obstacles ie. a ditch, it is always best to do so at an angle so that only one tire is in there and the other three are on solid ground, they provide the traction to get you across. If you try to take it head on the axel could become usless.
- Before driving over large rocks or boulders consider whetheryou need to build a ramp up to it in front and behind, remember the underside of your vehicle has many fragile components, it is therefore best to drive over by placing one tire on it and gently driving over it rather than going straight at it down the center.
What to do if you stall or breakdown.
- If your vehicle is about to stall on either a steep incline or decline DO NOT depress the clutch, this can cause it to ‘free wheel’ and you could lose control. Instead turn off the ignition and apply the foot brake VERY hard, then apply the parking break. After deciding your route down the hill, slowly depress the clutch, put it in reverse, let the clutch out while slowly releasing the parking and foot brakes. Then start the engine. With an automatic transmission NEVER shift the gear lever to Park, this can lock your transmission.
- If you get stuck on a log, stump or rock that can be moved, jack up your vehicle and move the object, if it can’t be moved jack up the vehicle and fill underneath the tires so that you can drive over it.
- If you get stuck in sand. snow or dirt or mud let some air out of your tires, clear away as much as you can that is in your way and lay down anything that will give your tires traction, even sleeping bags, if that doesn’t work, have you got a winch? Try that but if you still have no success, DON’T PANIC, keep calm.