9 Safety Tips to Drive in Snow Or Mud
Off road driving is a lot of fun and if you follow a few simple tips driving in snow or mud is quite easy. But it is a great idea to test your driving skills first before embarking on a full-scale off-road journey. Many inexperienced drivers have found themselves calling for roadside assistance after experiencing difficulties, when a little bit of practice could have helped them.
It doesn’t take long to master the skills necessary and although road conditions will vary greatly, the basic skills are always the same and you will only get better with practice.
Here are a few tips you can follow to make your off-road journey easier and more enjoyable.
Ensure your tyres have maximum contact with the ground by slightly deflating them when travelling in deep sand, mud or snow. This will give you better traction, but remember that your clearance will now be lower so driving over rough terrain with deep potholes may mean occasional contact with the ground. For this reason you should drive slowly and carefully negotiate your path with this in mind. Don’t forget to reinflate your tyres afterwards.
Although you should drive a little more slowly through sand and snow is important to maintain momentum. Travelling at a steady speed is easier when you engage higher gears but if the wheels start to spin you should throttle back a little until you have regained traction.
Wherever possible, get out of the vehicle and do a physical inspection of the journey ahead. This will alert you to unusual conditions and it will be easier to plan your route and avoid hazards.
Try to drive in a straight line wherever possible. After inspecting the ground ahead, as mentioned in the previous tip, you should be able to map out a series of straight-line paths to traverse the track you have decided upon.
If your wheels start to spin and you cannot regain traction easily, turn the steering wheel from side to side quickly with short turns until the front tyre walls regain their grip.
When driving in mud, lookout for deep ruts. It is important to remember where your front wheels are pointing because the tyres will naturally follow the direction of the rut. If your front wheels suddenly enter a dry patch and quickly regain traction, this could shake the vehicle out of the rut quite quickly and cause damage, so always point to wheels in the direction of the rut.
Never use brakes while driving in sand. If you need to stop simply slow down until the vehicle comes to rest as this will avoid creating a deep rut from which you will have difficulty emerging.
When traversing sand dunes always drive straight up and straight down, never travel at an angle.
If you become really stuck, try to reverse slowly to regain traction before moving forward slowly again. Rocking the vehicle from side to side can also assist in regaining traction but if all else fails you will need to use a winch.
When travelling off-road it may be difficult to rely on roadside assistance to get you out of trouble especially if you are in a remote location. By following these tips you should avoid any problems and with further experience you will enjoy off-road driving more and more.