When you think of a 4×4, you think of adventurous, off road expeditions powering through muddy terrain, but unfortunately, most 4-wheel drive vehicles seem to be sticking to familiar territories on the road. We’ve all been there, afraid to take that jump into the unknown, but it’s time to get those tyres dirty and unleash the incredible power of your Land Rovers.
Follow a few rules
Whether new to the sport or you regularly venture off the highway, there are rules you need to follow.
“Drive as slowly as possible and fast as necessary.”
Always use obtain land owners permission.
Byways open to all traffic as long as there is no Traffic Regulation Order (TRO)
Less throttle is more!
It can be easy to get caught up in the experience with mud flying everywhere, but avoid excessive wheel spin at all times, especially on soft ground where the vehicle can easily lose momentum and even cause environmental damage. Use the gears to control your speed. Listen to the engine note- make it purr, not scream. Avoid braking traction.
Be prepared to admit defeat.
Back up and have another go, or find an alternative route. Practice makes perfect.
Know your vehicle.
Do you know approach, ramp over and departure angles?
Approach 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 lowest point at the front (approach) or rear (departure)- this is often the bumper.
Ramp angle is, again, 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 still control your speed. Friction with the ground and the force of gravity acting on your vehicle, will kill your momentum.
Engage centre differential lock
Series Land Rovers were part-time four-wheel drive, while later models are permanent four-wheel drive systems. You may recognize the gear and transfer leavers as forward for low, back for high, but slide to the left and it engages centre differential lock.
If you fancy giving off-roading a go and unleashing your Land Rover’s monster ability, try an off road club. They’re full of like-minded people with a wide range of skill sets. You could also sign yourself up for a LRO Training day for a fun off road experience.
Just remember, always be aware of the damage you and your vehicle can do to the environment. Take it easy. Slow down. Know your limits.