With good preparation and a bit of practice, anyone can partake in off-road driving. A Land Rover is capable of more than you can imagine.
A Few Things to Remember when Off Roading:
· Approach Angle
Is the Wheel or nose going to hit the ground first? Remember if you have a winch on the front, your approach angle will be reduced.
· Ramp Angle
When you crest, a hill is the middle of your 4x4 going to ground?
· Departure Angle
Is the back of your vehicle going to hit the ground?
· Low Range
Gives you added control.
· High Range
Gives greater momentum and higher speeds.
When venturing off-road it is important to drive as slow as possible and as fast as necessary always try and make sure you operate the controls as smooth as possible.
Off-Road Driving Techniques
· Always keep both hands on the steering wheel, even when reversing.
· Don’t hook your thumbs inside the steering wheel, kickback from the rough terrain could sprain them.
· Never make harsh movements unless it’s vital to do so. Keep steering precise and braking to a minimum.
· Avoid gear changes while negotiating tricky terrain.
Driving Through Water
· Try to know the depth of water by gauging it with a stick or a pair of wellies before entering.
· If there are other vehicles ahead, wait until they have left the water. Unsettled water can make a safe passage more challenging.
· Drive through the water very slowly at first, then build up momentum. Do not slip/ride the clutch as this reduces control of the vehicle.
· Never attempt to cross deep, fast- flowing streams and always prioritise safe driving. As a general rule, don’t drive into water unless you really have to.
If you are driving on slippery terrain, you can expect to slide from time to time. There are several types of slide you can expect to encounter.
Driving on a Side Slope
Driving on the flat
Rules of Thumb when Sliding
· Don’t Panic
· Don’t hit the brakes or clutch
Steep hills can be one of the trickiest obstacles your likely to encounter while driving off-road. Not only have you got a gradient to contend with but gravity is working against you. It doesn’t seem fair. However, science is on your side- when attempting the climb for the first time consider the proven formula for success:
A successful climb= The correct rule+ Sufficient traction+ sufficient momentum
Off Roading is an adrenaline rush that many seek to pump some adventure into their lives. But before you’re out there holding the steering wheel in your hands, ready to hit the gas and about to launch your 4x4, there are several things you should first understand about off roading.
Essential Off-Roading Terms
If you’ve participated in an off roading event at an activity centre such as Avalanche Adventure then you will be briefed on the terms that you need to be aware of while off roading. Some of the common terms include:
- Approach Angle
Approach angle is the maximum inclination that a 4x4 can make without letting the body or suspension of the vehicle touch the surface. Naturally this angle matters when you’re descending as well ascending. If you manage to maintain the right approach angle then you should be able to ride your 4x4 on the most uneven of the surfaces without falling.
- Ramp Angle
When you’re driving your 4x4 on a slope and before you hit the even surface there is curve in the surface below. Ramp angle is the angle your vehicle makes with the surface such that the middle of your 4x4 does not skid against the ground.
- Departure Angle
When you launch yourself on a downward slope taking a small flight from a rock your 4x4 makes a certain angle with the ground. This angle is known as the angle of departure and the higher it is the greater are the chances of the rear end of your 4x4 hitting the ground.
- 4WD Low
Being in the 4WD Low mode, you achieve higher torque at lesser speeds. This is especially useful when your 4x4 is climbing a mountain or rock crawling. In such situations your 4x4 will have a high level of stability and even if it gets stuck you can slowly retract the vehicle without any problems. However in this mode you will not be able to attain high speeds as it gets maxed out quickly.
- 4WD High
4WD High is the default mode in which we drive our vehicle every day. Being in the 4WD High mode, high speeds can be achieved easily. This mode is useful when off roading on flat terrains. Basically in situations where you need to travel fast and maintain a momentum at the same time, your 4x4 should be in 4WD high mode.
- Locking Differential
In a usual scenario when you’re out on the roads driving, the wheels to the right and left turn at different speeds. The logic behind this mechanism is that the inner wheel travels lesser distance around a corner than the outer wheel. By locking differential both the inner and outer wheels turn at the same speed and this is extremely useful in off road conditions.
Wheelbase is the distance between the centre of a vehicle’s rear wheel and the centre of the front wheel on the same side.
- Rock Massage
If you attempt rock crawling on a vehicle which is not equipped for it and you are inadequately trained then you get a rock massage.
- Wheel Travel
The distance that a wheel can travel in the up and down direction is known as wheel travel. For example monster trucks that are used for off roading have the maximum wheel travel among all vehicles and as a result offer great on and off road traction. Off road machines with such high wheel travel need to be equipped with great suspensions.
What Will I Need?
- Warm Clothes
When you sign up for something like off roading in an unexplored terrain you simply do not know what you may encounter. You need to prepare yourself and your vehicle for the most unexpected of the events. As a backup you should carry adequate warm clothing with you so that you can even sustain 24 hours of cold weather outside the vehicle. Depending on the season you should also carry clothing with you that is suited for rains. You can always carry some essentials such as blankets in the trunk of your 4x4.
- Water and Food
Even if you are not taking anybody else with you to the off roading venue you should always have reserve food and water so that you can keep yourself well fed until you return to normal roads. You should definitely carry some nutrition bars and lots of water.
You may be getting an impression that off roading is the kind of sport which requires knowledge of survival techniques, but it isn’t so if you indulge in it at an activity centre. A major advantage of doing this is that you are trained well before you get started and you have someone over your shoulders to ensure your overall safety.
Off Road Driving Techniques
When venturing off-road it is important to drive as slow as possible and as fast as necessary. You should have a good understanding of the controls of your off road machine and get a good hang of how to operate it in rough conditions.
- Few ground rules that should be followed when off roading are:
- Ensure that both your hands are on the steering wheel irrespective of whether you are moving forward or backward.
- Some people have the habit of hooking their thumbs inside the steering wheel as they believe it gives them greater control. However this practice can lead to a sprained thumb as the kickback from rough terrain can be quite unforgiving at times.
- The steering should be as precise as possible and braking should be kept to a minimum level. Harsh movements should be avoided unless it is absolutely required.
- If you find yourself driving through a tricky terrain you should avoid changing gears as it can disrupt your balance.
- Things to remember when driving through water:
- You should drive through water only if the terrain doesn’t offer you another choice.
- You should know the approximate depth of water by using a stick or a pair of wellies before your tyres taste the water.
- If case you are off roading with others ahead of you, you should always wait until they have left the water. Unsettled water can make a safe passage more challenging.
- When driving through water it is advisable that you take it as slow as you can initially and build up momentum gradually. Riding the clutch will only worsen your control over the machine.
- Driving safely should be your topmost priority and you should never attempt to cross deep and fast flowing streams.
- Controlling Slides
If you’ve taken your off road machine onto a slippery terrain then you cannot expect to not slide at all. Most first timers panic when they encounter slides and land up doing something stupid like using excess of brakes and clutch that only makes them slide more. In such times you should keep your calm and remember what advice your trainer gave you regarding the same. It is possible that your vehicle slides when driving uphill, downhill, on a side slope or on a flat muddy terrain.
- Climbing Hills
Undoubtedly it is a lot of fun, but it also requires technique and skill to do it right. It is a tricky affair which is only worsened by the realisation that Newton’s discovery is conspiring against you. However, when you find yourself fighting gravity and contending against such a gradient, you should adopt the proven formula of success:
A Successful Climb = The Correct Rule + Sufficient Traction + Sufficient Momentum
Off Roading is a fun activity and anybody who has done this at our centre will tell you the same. So contact us now and select your favourite package.