We’ve all seen the video footage of people beach driving in their 4x4s, having the time of their life driving through the spray of the ocean as they skirt through the edge of the water.
If you’ve ever gone beach driving, it’s the first thing you want to try – almost as if the water is beckoning you to drive through it. However, if you have ever seen the local news footage of 4×4’s being pulled out of the water or washed out to sea, then you know how easy it is to lose control of your 4×4 at the beach. That being said, here are some common tips to keep you from getting stuck when you go out beach driving.
“Everyone thinks that 4×4’s are made to be more resistant to damage from the elements, but they aren’t – they’re just higher off the ground”
Tip#1: Lower your tyre pressure. When you drive on soft sand, higher tyre pressure will make you dig into the sand and get stuck, while lower tyre pressure will help you ‘float’ above it.
Tip#2: Drive slower than normal. When you are driving on sand, especially with low tyre pressure, the response time of your vehicle will be much slower. So if you have to make any sudden steering moves to avoid something, your vehicle is much more likely to roll over if you are going fast. As well, driving through salt water at high speeds may give you a quick thrill, but it will ruin the mechanical parts of your engine and corrode the underside of your 4×4. Everyone thinks that 4×4’s are made to be more resistant to damage from the elements, but they aren’t – they’re just higher off the ground.
Tip#3: Be careful of driving over sand dunes. You have no idea of what might be on the other side of a sand dune, especially when you are beach driving. There could be a vertical drop-off or even worse – people sunbathing on the other side. Also, drive straight up a dune and then straight back down. When you start traversing over dunes is almost certainly when you will roll over.
“When you are driving on sand, especially with low tyre pressure, the response time of your vehicle will be much slower.”
The most important thing to remember when you see 4×4’s beach driving insanely in a movie or on television is that these are professional drivers and if anything gets wrecked the production company pays for it. If you wreck your 4×4 while beach driving or let it get taken out to sea, the only video you will be on is the 6 o’clock news and the person paying for everything is also you.