Driving off-road can be a great opportunity for adventure. Whether you do it every day or you’re currently planning your first journey off-road, here are some tips on how you can approach the unexpected dangers of the backcountry.
Yes off-road but not off the trail
There is usually a good reason as to why a trail has been marked a certain way. You never know what could expect you on the other side, and whether your vehicle is suited to get over that obstacle. That’s why it’s important that you stick to the trail marks and also head back if at any point you feel like your truck may struggle to go ahead.
What to know as a beginner
If this is your first time driving on a trail, don’t make things harder for yourself by starting with a complicated one. Keep things easy at the beginning and you’ll gain much more enjoyment over graduating to more difficult trails over time.
When it comes to your gears, it’s important that you shift to either a 4-wheel drive or low gear before you need to, as that gives you all the power you need. Apply some gas whenever you meet some resistance unless you’re going downhill, in which case, let that resistance be what gets you down there safely.
On your way to a blind curve? Approach it as you would if you knew that a vehicle at high speed was about to come out of it. You can never be too careful with them!
Going uphill or downhill
To drive in the backcountry, you need to get confident with driving both uphill and downhill.
If you’re climbing up a hill, rely on your low gear, and before you do anything, examine the hill to try and figure out how steep it might be. If you’re unsure, it’s best that you keep driving straight ahead at a steady pace and with no spinning or turning around. Try jiggling your steering wheel back and front if you lose traction and use either the foot brake or emergency brake if you stall.
For downhill, instead, it’s best to go straight down in low gear, without riding the clutch and feathering the brakes a bit if you need to slow down. Again, avoid going sideways, but if it happens anyway, ease on the brake and speed up slightly in the direction you’re sliding towards.
Facing the dangers of the backcountry
If you encounter some rocks, it’s important that you avoid straddling them but rather drive over their highest point. If that’s out of reach, then get out of your truck and stack a few on the side to make your own ramp.
In case of mud, pack some carry tire chains and prepare your tires accordingly. If you enter the mud, use momentum and drive at a steady pace to get over it. If you get stuck, try to either back out or dig around the tires to break the suction.
Driving over sand? Try airing down to improve traction, use a high gear and rely on momentum to keep you going, without ever spinning the tires.
Make sure that you avoid ice and snow altogether as it can be dangerous for even the most confident backcountry drivers.
Ready to face the unknown? Start by securing a top-quality bumper for some extra protection, we have listed all of the best ones in this Ultimate Bumper Guide. Still need help? Feel free to contact us either via live chat or by calling us on 281-404-2124.