Off-Road Driving: 8 Tricks to Help You Not Wreck Your Vehicle

You bought an SUV or a off roader and for the first time, you have your own all-terrain vehicle, with the ability to drive off road, get off the pavement and make your own way. Before we get started, we want to share some tips with you.

To drive off road, we recommend you to do it slowly and safely. Make sure you have your vehicle tuned up by a good mechanic and plan simple routes at the beginning. It is good that you travel the route on foot; so that you are clear about the terrain conditions and the level of complexity beforehand. Once you gain experience and develop the ability to ride in rough terrain, you can try more complex routes.

When driving in off-road conditions, with uneven surfaces, sand or loose dirt roads, always keep both hands on the steering wheel in the 10 and 2 or 10:10 position (although it can vary to 9 and 3 or 9:15), that is, imagining that the steering wheel is a clock and placing your hands on each of the numbers. This will give you much greater stability and control. Do not drive on uneven terrain with only one hand on the steering wheel for any reason.

Find out about your vehicle’s traction system. Off-road vehicles have different designs. Some have a switch, lever or on/off button, others have a complex system, programmed to make changes automatically depending on road conditions.

Regardless of the traction system your vehicle has, it is good to review its manual to understand its capabilities, limits and strengths. In the case of Subaru there is the X-Mode system, designed to increase the qualities of the limited slip differential, apply SI-Drive technology to the engine and transmission, and give a timely response to road conditions to provide peace of mind on rough roads, allowing you to put all your attention on the road conditions and leaving the mechanics of the vehicle to the internal processor. SUV mud

When going off-road, lower the tire pressure quite a bit. This will give more flexibility in rocky terrain and more grip in the sand. In the case of driving on mud or when crossing a river, this helps a lot.

Sometimes these surfaces do not seem to have a solid bottom, however, whether they do or not, it is best to lower the tire pressure. We also recommend that you keep a mini tire inflator or mini compressor in your vehicle to restore normal tire pressure when you get back on the road.

Maintain a constant speed at high resolutions (which is not the same as high speed) avoiding abrupt acceleration or braking. This is so that the engine operates at its maximum torque power, but without giving the vehicle the chance to skid and lose traction in the process due to inertia. Some off-road models have the option of high or low four-wheel drive. High traction is for normal driving conditions and gives the vehicle more speed. Low traction increases torque and lowers speed, but gives more power to the wheels. Subaru’s traction system makes these changes efficiently, automatically and imperceptibly thanks to its Symmetrical All Wheel Drive technology. SUV snow

Always be prepared for the worst. Carry your first aid kit, keep something handy to cut the seat belts and something to break the inside of the windows in case it becomes necessary. Make sure your fire extinguisher is operational. You probably won’t use them, but it’s always good to be prepared.

Something you should always keep in mind is that if the conditions do not seem to be suitable to go out, stay where you are and postpone driving until they are more propitious. Off-road riding, in itself, carries a high degree of stress and worry. The idea is to enjoy nature and the challenge.

If you like the experience and plan an adventure on new routes, on the beach, snow or mountains, you should also consider the following:

Beware of sudden movements, in difficult terrain and especially those with many slopes. It is possible that the handlebars may rotate or make intense and violent forces, as well as the vehicle, affecting and even damaging the driver’s wrists or neck.

Avoid over-turning the wheels of the vehicle, i.e., turning to the left or right abruptly depending on the terrain conditions. It is true that sometimes, to face a slope or irregularity, the first instinct is to turn the wheels in the easiest direction (or it may be that, due to sudden pressure, the steering wheel simply slips away), but it is best to do it moderately to prevent the vehicle from skidding or that, by letting yourself get carried away by the slopes, you end up turning into a tree, rocks or another obstacle.

Learn to break with your left foot. Many people learn to use their right foot to accelerate or brake. When driving on very uneven roads, it is good to have both feet attentive to control the speed with the right foot and apply the brake with the left foot independently. This way you will be able to react faster in case of an emergency. Taking your off-road vehicle off-road is an experience worth having.

You get off the beaten track and encounter less visited and more natural places. It is a very good adventure, but it must be done with care.

The most important thing: the idea is that you have a good time. So if at one point you find yourself overwhelmed, try to return to a more stable route. Enjoy both the trip and your destination!

Written by Mud Flap

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