SAND AND BEACH DRIVING TIPS 101: 4X4 - 4WD - ADVICE

beach driving tips

Starting with your vehicle…The make, model and age of your 4WD are not nearly as important as its reliability and safety. Remember that soft sand usually places much greater loads on your vehicle’s engine, transmission and driveline; due to the greater rolling resistance. ... Read on....

beach driving tips

Starting with your vehicle…The make, model and age of your 4WD are not nearly as important as its reliability and safety. Remember that soft sand usually places much greater loads on your vehicle’s engine, transmission and driveline; due to the greater rolling resistance. Have your vehicle checked & serviced before you head away.

Load your vehicle evenly. This assists traction + helps vehicle stability. Before you go, become familiar with your 4WDs steering, handling, & power (or lack of it!), & the input required to change from 2WD to 4WD, & back again. Many 4WD owners are not aware that (in some vehicles) drive-train stresses can make changing back to 2WD almost impossible.

Permits are issued subject to some rules and restrictions. Driving over any sort of vegetation is always a No-Go, and there may be regulations regarding vehicle speed, sand dunes, and where you should travel on the beach. Doing the wrong thing can result in a hefty fine, tarnish the image of the 4WD community, + result in further restrictions regarding access to remote beaches.

beach permit

Tyres and pressures: Rule No.1: Let some air out of your tyres to increase the 'footprint' area. This reduces the weight per square cm and also increases the 'length' of the contact area. Contrary to what many people will try to tell you, it is the increase in length, rather than width, which improves a vehicle's ability to cross soft surfaces. Best pressure for sand? It all depends. It's the one that allows the vehicle to travel across the surface with the least amount of effort. 18psi is considered to be the ‘safe’ minimum. ‘Highway’ tread patterns are best for beach work, & a ‘mud’ pattern can work like a 'grave digger'. However, the correct pressures & right driving technique, are what's most important.

psi tyre pressures sand driving beach

Momentum's essential in sand driving situations. Choose a gear that isn’t tall enough to cause engine ‘labour’, nor too ‘low’ which will cause the tyres to dig. Avoid sudden acceleration, sharp turns & hard braking. ‘Smooth’ is your motto. Where possible, follow existing wheel tracks. Compacted sand will provide a firmer base, and put less stress on the vehicle.

Sand dunes can be dangerous. Drive them straight up or straight down. Negotiating them at an angle is a recipe 4 disaster. Injuries & deaths may be the result. Can’t make it to the top? Reverse down in your existing tracks. What's on the other side of the dune? Walk up to find out if another 4WD is approaching or your intended route is impassable.

General road rules apply. Keep left. Use your indicators. Daytime? Use headlights for ‘awareness’. Night? Dips in the sand may 'hide' someone in the area. Never drive between the waters’ edge and someone fishing. Park a vehicle facing downhill. This should allow you to take off smoothly and get up to the speed you need. Know your tides. Getting stranded is not fun.

Beach driving can be one of the most enjoyable things you can do in a 4WD. You just have to abide by some rules, be well prepared, learn a few techniques, and be considerate of the environment and other people.

beach driving tips sand 4wd 4x4


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