DRIVING ON ROCKS
get out of the vehicle and assess the risks
More than any other type of four wheel driving, picking and climbing through rocks requires real feel for the vehicle. For some people ‘Rock Crawling’ is a competitive sport and an opportunity to customize a vehicle specifically to challenge the toughest of terrain.
For most people driving over large sections of good size rocks will simply be about with getting from point A to B and many people would prefer to take a longer route than subject their bodies and vehicles to the rigours of boondi-bashing. With a little patience driving over rock doesn’t have to be an experience that leaves your passengers regretting the trip or your car battered and bruised.
Slow And Steady Is Key
When it comes to driving across rocks, ideally you want to position your vehicle so that it remains as level as possible and it has the best chance of keeping all four wheels on the ground.
You don’t need too much momentum to drive across rocks, so you want to select low-range and keep speed to a minimum. After all, they don’t call it rock crawling for nothing.
An extra set of eyes will be of great benefit when driving on rocky terrain. Having an observer outside the vehicle, who can direct you via hand signals or a UHF radio, will give you a much better chance of avoiding obstacles.
Before navigating uneven ground, secure anything inside the vehicle that could fall. If possible, remove any roof-rack items.
Use the lowest gear possible and approach at a crawl. Avoid the temptation to steer up the slope.
If you slide, steer downhill and gently apply the throttle. If you lose traction on your uphill wheels, stop immediately, reverse away and choose a more suitable route.
Keep an eye out for anything that could unbalance the vehicle, like rocks or potholes. Approach logs, rocky steps or ditches diagonally: you want three wheels on the ground at all times.
Gear selection and speed
1st or 2nt L4 would be the right choice to drive through steep and rocky surfaces.
Drive at a walking speed.
Fast driving kicks up stones which can damage the vehicle, while impact from driving over a gap could damage the wheels or suspension.
It is best to have an assistant guide the driver for safety. Look for sharp rocks which can damage the wheel or burst a tire.
When driving over rocks, make sure they can’t move. If a rock tilts when initially touched, it could lodge under the body of the vehicle or could give way causing a roll-over.
Lowering the pressure is an option when better traction is required.
However, higher pressure is required most of the time in order to minimize the possible damage by the rocks to the tire and wheel.
In preparation against the kickback from the rocky surface, place your thumbs on the steering wheel. A firm grip is necessary to avoid straying from the chosen path.