Most 4 wheel drives spend their days on the road carrying out routine schools runs, daily commutes and shopping trips. Most owners are scared of getting their tyres dirty! However, once you take the plunge into the world of off-roading and release the power and potential of your Land Rover there will be no looking back – you will be hooked!
Let me share some simple off-roading rules
If you are new to the off-roading or you maybe you are often looking for adventure ‘off the beaten path’, here are some simple rules to help you on your way. Off-roading is very different to road driving, no matter how good a driver you are this will become apparent very quickly.
“Drive as slowly as possible and fast as necessary.”
Remember to always get the land owners’ permission. Byways are open to all traffic as long as there is no Traffic Regulation Order (TRO)
Its great fun with mud flying everywhere splattering the roof, but avoid excessive wheel spinning at all times, especially on soft ground where the vehicle can easily lose momentum! (remember to respect the environment around you).
Don’t forget to use the gears to control your speed and listen to the engine note. Make it purr NOT scream.
Avoid braking traction is key to moving forward. It’s hard to change habits, but less throttle is more, and leads to better results.
Be prepared to give up. Back away and have another go, alternatively seek another route.
Remember: Practice makes perfect!
How well do you know your 4X4 ? Do you know approach, ramp over and departure angles?
Approach – This is the angle you can attack the obstacle. We measure approach and departure angle from the lowest point on the centre of your wheel to the lowest point at the front (approach) or rear (departure) this is usually the bumper for example.
Ramp angle – This is measured from the lowest point on the centre of your wheel to the lowest point at the centre of the vehicle.
Momentum – The mass of your vehicle multiplied by its velocity (speed) — gets you to the top of a hill. Although the mass of your vehicle is fixed (mostly), you can control your speed. Friction with the ground and the force of gravity acting on your vehicle kill your momentum.
Engage centre differential lock
Series Land Rovers were part time 4X4s while later models are permanent systems. You may recognise the gear and transfer leavers – It’s forward for low and back for high. However, slide to the left engages centre differential lock.
There are lots of ‘off road clubs’ across the country full of like-minded people all eager to learn, all with varying skill levels you could join. Alternatively sign yourself up for something like a LRO Training day.
Remember to respect the environment you are driving across, as you can easily damage it with your prized 4X4. Be responsible. Take it easy. Slow down and know your limits.
But go have some fun with your 4X4 thats what they are made for..