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With good preparation and a bit of practice, anyone can off road and get to places other vehicles simply can’t


4x4 OffRoad Driving Techniques

Off-roading at an advanced level requires mastery of your vehicle, a thorough understanding of the terrain and conditions, and an instinctive knowledge of what to do if things go wrong.

It takes years of practice to drive well on varied terrain, and there is always more to learn. From snow and ice, to sand dunes, to rugged woodland tracks – driving in varied conditions is one of the most rewarding and adventurous hobbies in the world.

  • Drive as slowly as possible, and as fast as necessary.
  • Always keep both hands on the wheel, even when reversing.
    Don’t hook your thumbs inside the steering wheel. Kickback from rough terrain could sprain them.
  • Use progressive throttle, gentle steering and progressive braking.
  • Use progressive throttle, gentle steering and progressive braking.
    Never make harsh movements unless it’s vital to do so. Keep steering precise and braking to a minimum.
  • Check your wheels are straight
  • Assess any potential risks ahead.
    Where necessary, get out of your vehicle and check the terrain.
  • Avoid gear changes while negotiating tricky terrain.

Gear selection

To climb, always use the highest practical gear. To descend use the lowest, and/or engage Hill Descent Control if available.

If you have an automatic gearbox and Terrain Response, select [D] and the vehicle will cope with whatever conditions you throw at it.

When driving on icy, slippery or muddy surfaces in an automatic 4x4, move off in second gear as it reduces the risk of wheel spin.
If you’re in a manual vehicle without low range, use first gear.

The key is to find the right balance betweenctraction and momentum. If you have decent traction, use less momentum.

2WD H2

High speed position
Two wheel drive

Use this for normal driving on dry, hard-surfaced roads.This position provides better economy, a quieter ride and the least wear.

4WD H4

High speed position
Four wheel drive

Use this for normal driving on wet, icy or snow-covered roads.This position provides greater traction than two-wheel drive.

4WD L4

Low speed position
Four wheel drive

Use this for maximum power and traction. Use "L4" for climbing or descending steep hills, off-road driving, and hard pulling in sand, mud or deep snow.

Hill Climb
Gear which requires no shift change
Angle, Length, Surface (hardness, solidity, gap, slipperiness) Drop or curve at the top of slope.
Down Hill
Use a lower gear to get the maximum engine brake
Angle, Length, Surface (hardness, solidity, gap, slipperiness)
Width, Depth of ditch, Angle,
Surface (sand, stone,mud, solidity)
Angle,Width, Distance, Surface
(hardness, solidity,gap,slipperiness)
Muddy Soil
Use a lower gear
Angle,Width, Distance, Surface
(solidity, existence of track or gap)
Depth,Width, Distance, Speed of the flow, Bottom (Stability, solidity, gap slipperiness)
Sandy Soil
Gradient, Distance Surface (solidity, gap)
Rocky Surface
L3 - L4
Gradient, Distance Surface (solidity, gap, slipperiness)
Snowy Surface
Use a higher gear when starting and a lower gear down hill
Gradient, Distance Surface (iced, gap, hidden object under snow)