4x4 Off Roading ›› Basic Driving Tips

Driving Tips for Beginners

OFF ROAD DRIVING TIPS: There is no great secret about being able to drive off road in a safe manner.

Common sense comes very high up the list of requirements. But, you also need to have total confidence in what you are doing.

This section will steer you in the right direction along with a few basic 4x4 driving tips - or do we mean reminders?

Most of us need reminders from time to time. It is so easy to get carried away once you are in control of a powerful motor.

That 'monster truck' is capable of transporting you over the roughest of terrain.

So, let's add self-discipline to the list of requirements as well.

This section is for those who have yet to experience the joys of off road 4WD driving. It may also serve as a 'refresher' for many experienced drivers as well.

Off-road Driving General Advice

4WD Tips for Beginners: DO NOT attempt anything other than the basic muddy track first time. You should then undergo some basic training with some experienced instructors.

You will struggle to find any better than the team at True Grip 4x4 Off Roading in Kent. After all, even the basic 4x4 and SUV models are quite expensive. That is true - but a life is precious!

Offroading: The Basics

There are some basic 4x4 checks to do before attempting any off roads venture. We also include the innocuous-looking green laning 4x4 trek that seems to be a piece of cake.

Off Road Driving Tips: 4x4 and SUVCheck your battery is properly fastened and the filler caps are also secure. Basic things like water and fuel hoses also need checking.

Most of the hoses will undergo extra strain. Getting a ruptured hose a few miles from the nearest garage is inconvenient - to say the least.

Let's stay with the hoses and pipes for a moment. Even the best of them are pretty useless if they have no fluids running through them.

Check that all fluid and fuel levels are well topped up. Check the water, oils, brake, and clutch fluids.

It is always handy to acknowledge realistic 4x4 fuel consumption data for your vehicle. In fact, do your best to learn about every substance that runs through a pipe or a hose.

Successful off road drives depends upon good grip. Thus, check you have the proper 4x4 off road tyre types - and that includes the spare tyre.

Do you have a suitable jack and a base for the jack that will be suitable of supporting it in muddy conditions? It is worth checking that you have the proper attachment for undoing 'lock-nuts' if needs be.

Two vehicles are always better than one - so try not to travel alone. After all, it is impossible to tow your own vehicle if it gets stuck right?

Basic 4x4 Driving Tips for Beginners

As soon as you are off-road, slip into 4WD mode - preferably before you get stuck! Even some modern 4x4 and SUV makes do not engage into 4WD once it gets stuck.

Now that can be very embarrassing. Keep a good lookout on all 4 corners of the vehicle - and at all points between.

We have a personal 'MUST DO' for all novice off-roaders (and some experienced ones). Keep your thumbs in the air - off the steering wheel!

Otherwise, what happens when one of your front wheels hits a snag - and it will do? The steering wheel rotates at a heck of a lick, your thumb will be in the way of a rotating spoke or wheel strut, and it hurts.

4WD Tips for Beginners: Keep your head inside the cab - that is what the cab is there for... "YOUR SAFETY!"

BOAT: Public Byways

BOAT stands for 'Byways Open to All Traffic'. Off road enthusiasts use an Ordinance Survey map to find the best BOAT and green lanes in the muddy terrains of England.

The British rural countryside is riddled with 100s of unexplored muddy bridleways and overgrown paths. They make superb 4x4 green laning tracks - providing they are not restricted byways (RB).

BORDA Authorized Venues

BORDA stands for the British Off Road Driving Association. It is the country's only professional association dedicated to offroading at authorized venues around the UK.

The British Off Road Driving Association is a professional organisation. They look after the interest of all its approved members. They track and monitor well developed site standards and training expertise.

Driving in River Beds

You will need one of the top 4x4 vehicles to tackle a deep ford or riverbed. But, the Environment Agency recently reminded 4x4 drivers about driving in rivers and riverbeds around Britain.

Winter Driving Checklist

It's fair to say that driving a vehicle in the winter months, especially January and February, can be challenging at times.

But, carrying out a few basic checks, stocking up on some essential supplies, and preparing a few tools will make winter driving in snow and ice less hazardous.

Driver Education Courses

BikeSafe to a Skillful Ride

Run by 36 police forces around the United Kingdom, the BikeSafe initiative works with motorcycle riders in a relaxed environment.

The aim is to raise awareness about the importance of taking part in accredited post-test training (and the value of progressing).

A police graded motorcyclist (or approved BikeSafe observer) conducts the BikeSafe workshop and covers all the important skills, including:

  • Attitude and observation
  • Cornering, overtaking, and filtering
  • Group riding and the system of motorcycle control
  • Riding at junctions and hazard awareness

Driver Awareness Courses

The police consider several factors when assessing eligibility for someone to attend the driver awareness course, including whether:

  • They have already completed a course within three (3) years (or have booked to attend one).
  • Their speed 'narrowly' exceeded the limit and does it fall within the National Police Chief Council (NPCC) guidelines (no more than):
    • 31 mph in a 20 mph area
    • 42 mph in a 30 mph area
    • 53 mph in a 40 mph area
    • 64 mph in a 50 mph area
    • 75 mph in a 60 mph area
    • 86 mph in a 70 mph area

Important: Motorists have no legal entitlement to take part in a driver awareness course. Another section explains UK speeding penalties and how many points go on a driving licence after breaking the limits.

HASTE Driver Training Course

If you hold a full driving licence you can take part in the HASTE (Hazard Awareness, Space, Time, Eco-driving) classroom based driver training course.

You will learn about hazard awareness, speed and severity, and eco-driving techniques in a session that will last around three and a half hours.

Minibus Training Courses

The one day minibus training course in Ashford, Kent helps to train minibus drivers and reduce road risk through work-related effective management.

Young Drivers Driving Skills

The goal of the virtual Young Drivers Course is to educate teenagers in Kent schools to build awareness and challenge their perceptions about road safety.

In partnership with Thruxton Race Circuit in Hampshire, the leading road safety charity "IAM RoadSmart" is offering a Young Drivers Skills Day in August 2024. It is an ideal opportunity for 17 to 30-year-olds to learn new off-road driving skills and gain extra driving knowledge.

Driving Rules and Regulations

Clean Air Zones (CAZ)

The framework for clean air zones (CAZ) sets out the guidelines for local authorities to use when setting up areas that discourage certain vehicles from entering.

Click through for a help guide that explains the UK rules for driving in a clean air zone and how to check if you need to pay a charge in England.

Highway Code Road Safety Laws

Anyone who uses public roads (e.g. motorists, pedestrians, and horse riders) should consider the Official Highway Code as being essential reading.

Safety Procedures When You Tow

Take a few minutes and do these basic safety checks before towing a trailer with a car (e.g. when pulling a trailer, caravan, or horsebox) to avoid a fine and a ban.

Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)

Do you want to take your vehicle "off the road" to stop paying tax and insurance? If so, you need to inform the DVLA that you will make a Statutory Off Road Notification.

This help guide explains the rules for SORN in the United Kingdom with extra details about the exceptions for motor traders.

Track Days and Driving Experiences

Track Day Guide for Drivers and Riders

So, you want to race your own car or motorcycle around a track, but you're not sure what you need to do because it's your first track day event.

The information in this section explains what to expect from track days and driving experiences organised by one of the companies around the United Kingdom.

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