Driving In or Through Mud

Mud is wet dirt! Mud comes in various types, from thick, bottomless clay to the slippery surface mud found in forests. Key is “As slow as possible but as fast as necessary”, a low gear to give enough engine speed, and momentum.

Before you drive through any mud, take the time to look at the terrain and where you need to go. Better to get your shoes a bit dirty than just blasting into it and getting stuck. Look at the terrain around you — if it’s rocky, there’s a good chance that there’ll be rocks in the mud too. Observe any fall line (your vehicle will want to go to the point that is lowest – fall line) Do you know where the lowest part of your vehicle is? If there are ruts which is grater the ruts or your clearance?

No matter how much you are tempted, don’t change gear, as you’ll reduce the momentum of your vehicle and probably become stuck. Select a gear before entering the obstacle.

If you feel any wheel-spin, try easing off the accelerator to slow down the wheels and give them a chance to get traction. Alternatively you can try to gently move the steering wheel from side to side to give the tyres’ sidewalls a chance to get a foothold. Don’t try to force the steering wheel in a particular direction, just hold the wheel gently and guide the vehicle in the direction that you want to go. Engage centre differential for areas that extra traction is needed.

Should you become stuck in mud, stop and determine exactly why you are stuck. Getting unstuck normally involves digging. Clear mud away in front of the wheels and try to get branches or any other items that will give you traction under the wheels (even car mats). Pulling away may also require some assistance in the form of a push or a tow rope. Useful tools to take along are a decent tow rope and a spade.

Before rejoining the highways don’t forget to clean excess mud from your tyres and mud flaps. Dropping mud on the road is seen as an unsafe load.


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