Guide to driving off-road – Part 2

We have already talked about the off-roading essentials and basic driving techniques.  This time we are going to talk about the types of terrain you may encounter while off-roading.

More than likely it will mainly consist of gravel, grass and dry dirt. This is a good starting place as it is one of the simplest and safest types of off-roading and a great place for beginners to get used to off-roading. It is also a great way to test your 4×4’s new parts or setup to see how your 4×4 handles when it is taken off-road.

Please be aware that if you are a beginner DO NOT attempt any steep climbs, unless your vehicle has been properly prepared! Wait until you have some experience before attempting anything too dangerous or steep. There are some great off-roading driving courses you can sign up for, where you will be taught by experts.

At some point you may come across mud, sand, snow and obstacles, so let’s look at these individually.


Mud can be one of the most frustrating terrains to drive on. When you get stuck (and believe me you will) most people will instinctively hit the pedal and just spin the wheels, and in most cases get themselves into more trouble. One way to prevent getting stuck in the mud is to keep moving and if you feel like you’re beginning to get stuck, turn your wheel left and right and see where there is grip.  If you do get stuck, try rocking your 4×4 back and forth until you get enough momentum to get yourself out. Unfortunately, as many of you know this doesn’t always work so you might have to get your friends to tow you out – all part of the fun. This is where the winch comes in handy!

How to 4×4 In Mud

  • Maintain a steady momentum to keep moving.
  • Don’t use a low gear, as this increases the chances of your wheels spinning.
  • If your wheels begin to spin, ease off your accelerator and slow until your tyres begin to regain traction.


There aren’t too many places you can experience sand driving legally in the UK, so please make sure you find somewhere that is legal and safe otherwise you could get in some serious trouble. Getting traction is always one of the main difficulties when driving on sand so one of the first things you need to do is deflate your tyres to around 15-20psi. The reason for doing this is to allow the tyres to spread more and cover more surface area, this will allow for more grip. Once you get going, make sure you don’t stop. Momentum is key when driving on loose terrain, so make sure if you only stop if you have to.

How to 4×4 in Sand

  • Maintain a steady momentum to keep you moving.
  • When driving in sand, use a low gear.
  • Low tyre pressure often works best when driving on soft and/or stony sand.
  • If your wheels begin to spin, ease off your accelerator and slow until your tyres begin to regain traction.


Driving in the snow can be quite challenging. One of the biggest fears is sliding! The basic rule is to turn your front wheels in the same direction that the rear of the vehicle is sliding. You’ve probably heard about “turning into the slide”! If the wheels start to spin or slide, ease off the accelerator until you feel the tyres regain grip. Remember to start gently on the brakes to prevent skidding and gradually increase pedal pressure. On corners, brake before you approach, steer through the corner at a safe speed, then accelerate once you’ve straightened up. Don’t steer while braking or accelerating and vice versa.

How to 4×4 in Snow

  • Pull away in a higher gear than normal for extra traction
  • Suspension: Raise if necessary to prevent grounding in deep snow
  • Diff lock(s): Engage when slippery
  • Keep your speed down
  • Keep traction control system on unless a hindrance
  • Leave more room for braking, ensure all driver inputs are gentle

Always pack a snow shovel – just in case you get stuck!

Obstacles – How to overcome obstacles

When you’re approaching an obstacle such as a log, rocks or ditches, make sure you always have at least three wheels on the ground at all times.  When you encounter an obstacle (like a fallen tree) approach it at an angle that allows you to climb over it one wheel at a time. The other three wheels give you the traction you need to lift that wheel over the obstacle. Be very careful when you’re doing this (especially if there’s a possibility that the obstacle might shift) because this can cause damage to the undercarriage of your car.
Before taking on an obstacle, check your tyres are fully inflated.

Always remember when approaching a ridge to take it head on!  If you try to take a hill diagonally you’re running a higher risk of rolling your 4×4. Try to keep your car as straight as possible when going downhill and if you feel you’re beginning to slip sideways, slow down.

Remember to come to JGS4X for all your Land Rover parts and accessories

Posted in Hints & Tips

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