Off-Road Driving Tips For Newbies

Off-road traveling is a lot different than driving on the relatively smooth paved streets of your city or town. When you are a newbie off-roader, it's imperative for the safety of you and your passengers that you have at least a general idea on how to safely drive on rough terrain. Yes, you need to wear your seat belt, but there's much more to off-road driving safety than that. Keep reading for a few important tips to follow when you embark on your first off-road adventure:

Engage Four-Wheel Drive

Before you put your vehicle's tires on the dirt, make sure it's in four-wheel drive. Every vehicle has a different way of going into four-wheel drive. In some trucks, you simply push a button. In an SUV, you may have to move a stick-shift into the proper position. If you don't know how to put your vehicle into four-wheel drive, consult your owner's manual. With four-wheel drive, you'll have more traction when driving over rocks, through brush, and across small rivers and streams. It's much easier to put your truck or SUV into four-wheel drive before you start your off-road journey than it is to try to engage four-wheel drive when you're stuck in a ditch.

Keep Your Eyes Focused On What's Over The Hood

Just like driving on regular streets and highways, you need to pay close attention to what is in front of you. When you're driving fast on rocky ground, pitfalls can appear out of no where. You need to give yourself enough time to make adjustments, like turning the wheel quickly to avoid a large boulder, or speeding up to get over a steep hill. In fact, if you have a passenger with you, instruct him or her to help you spot these issues. It's always better to be safe than sorry! Also, watch your thumbs and keep them away from the spokes of your steering wheel. It's not uncommon for a tire to slip on a large rock, which will cause your steering wheel to abruptly turn in a direction you least expect.

Reduce Tire Pressure When Driving On Sand

One of the fun things about four-wheel driving is that you can take your truck or SUV to the beach and drive it on the sand. Loose sand is a nightmare for many drivers, but when you lower the air pressure in your tires by 10% to 12% it doesn't have to be. Tires with less air will help you gain traction to keep a forward momentum. If the sand is damp or densely packed, you can put it into low-range four-wheel drive. Make sure you take wider turns and always keep a forward momentum when driving on any type of sandy surface.

These tips will help you safely drive off-road. The more you go four-wheeling, the better you will be at maneuvering your vehicle safely on all types of surfaces. If you have questions about taking your vehicle four-wheeling, first consult your truck or SUV's owner's manual. You can also inquire at the dealership where you purchased your vehicle (such as Expressway Dodge).