Are you guilty from any of the top 7 sins in 4×4 driving? It’s a learning curve adapting from road to track and there’s no road signs to help us. Can you hold you hand up and honestly say you’re innocent from any of these 7 mistakes.
Do you know your Maximum Gross Vehicle Weight (MGVW) once you’ve fully loaded everything fuel, recovery gear, passengers, cool box, wife’s handbag? Yes everything! It’s dangerous to drive overweight, it will extend breaking distance, affect handling and tyres ability, cause unnecessary strain on the vehicle and may even render the recovery gear useless.
Before you head out for a day or week adventuring there should be some standard gear languishing in the boot ready for action just in case. Kits are the same as horses for courses different items are required for different undertakings. Some people pack everything just in case and others take nothing. Some items are obviously on the leave at home list, there’s no point taking the overhead tent if you’re not going to use it. A basic kit should include essential recovery gear, tyre inflator, a first aid kit and the bare minimum tools. Carry extra food and water as well just in case, better to be prepared then desolate. Make sure everything has a place and is held in tight because the last thing you want to be distracted with on a steep track is the cool box smacking you back of the head.
Brought Cheap Crappy Gear?
When it comes to buying 4×4 gear it’s better to stay away from the pale imitations. Quality items will outlast inferior gear so buying cheap just means you’ll need to buy again and again. Not to mention your life plus pride and joy could be relying on this recovery gear. Ask around to gain a general opinion of what is worthy and spend as much as you can afford or stick it on the birthday present list.
To much air in your tyres?
It’s hard to believe that reducing tyre pressure is a 4×4’s best friend when it comes to traveling tracks. Fully aired tyres are designed for licking the black top, not roughing the countryside. Less air will prevent the 4×4 tyres bouncing off obstructions. A softer tyre will have a wider surface so it can mould around and grip obstacles plus sit on top of surfaces rather than digging in. Vibration will also be reduced with less stress on the suspension. Unfortunately there is no hard and fast rule on how much air pressure should be reduced by. Vehicle weight, load, tyres, terrain are all factors. Take about a 3rd of the air out of each rubber and experiment; find your own personnel preference. If your tyres don’t have beadlocks on them, remember to keep your steering tame, no harsh turns to avoid sliding off your rubber boots.
Are you a Bull in a china shop?
Charging your truck at obstacles isn’t always the solution. Sometimes it’s best to disengage the heavy foot and engage the brain. Yeah ok it was worth a go but to keep chucking yourself at an obstacle is just going to break your truck. Get out and walk the track, choose a line of approach, how will you get up, across and out from the obstacle. Do you need to lower the tyres more, use a winch, waffle board or strap, maybe you need to build up the track, fill in large gaps or just check the depth of the water. There is no better way then trial and error to build experience.
Keen but Green?
We all have to start somewhere and we never stop learning no matter how long you’ve been a mud-munching adventurer. New technology in modern motors changes things. A 4×4 course is one of the best things you can do for yourself and will save you from ragging your truck. Local clubs will also allow you to tap into a wealth of experience and include the family.
Are you a numpty?
Driving like a numpty, spinning your wheels in mud bogs or generally ripping up the countryside isn’t going to win friends or influence people. Yes driving a 4×4 can make you feel invincible but everyone has to be responsible. Us truck drivers are constantly having to prove our virtue, justifying our right to enjoy the countryside. Unfortunately one numpty driver tars us all and gives ammunition to the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) brigade to close BOATS and venues. If you want to throw doughnuts, test your metal and have a plonker moment do it on private land with permission or better still go to an organised event. There are plenty of events with challenging courses around both here and across Europe. EAORS builds a course every year in East Anglia and Les Comes near Barcelona is a whole off road estate designed and owned by Dakar Truck champion Pep Vila.