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Driving 4x4 SUV Off Road

There is no great secret about being able to drive off road safely. Common sense comes very high up the list of requirements, together with total confidence in what you are doing.

We steer you in the right direction with a few basic hints, tips – or perhaps reminders! Reminders are needed from time to time, for it is so easy to get carried away once you are in control of a powerful motor that 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 serve as a 'refresher for the more experienced driver as well.

Off-road Driving General Advice

DO NOT attempt anything other than the basic muddy track, before you undergo some basic training with some experienced instructors such as those at True Grip. A 4x4 vehicle is quite expensive. A life is precious!

Offroading - The Basics

There are some basic checks to do with your 4x4 before attempting any off roads venture – even a seemingly simple green laning trek.

Check your battery is properly fastened, and that the filler caps are also secure. Basic things like water and fuel hoses need to be checked. They will undergo extra strain, and in any case, a ruptured hose a few miles from anywhere is to say the least, inconvenient.

Following on from the hoses and pipes, even the best of them are pretty useless if they have nothing running through them.

Check that all fluid and fuel levels are well topped up. Check the water, oils, brake and clutch fluids, and its always helpful to know the vehicle's fuel consumption data. In fact, every substance that can run through a pipe or hose.

Successful off road drives depends upon good grip, so check you have the proper off-road tyre types – including the spare. Incidentally, do you have a suitable Jack, and a base for the jack that will be suitable of supporting it in muddy conditions? Might be as well to make sure 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. You can’t tow yourself.

4x4 Basic Driving Hints

As soon as you are off-road, slip into 4WD mode – preferably before you get stuck! Some 4x4s don’t engage into 4WD once you are stuck. Now that can be embarrassing. Keep a good lookout on all 4 corners of the vehicle – and at all points between.

My personal MUST for the novice (and many experienced drivers) is to keep your thumbs in the air – right off the steering wheel.

Otherwise, if one of your front wheels hits a snag – and it will do of course – your steering wheel will rote at a heck of a lick, and if your thumb is in the way of a rotating spoke or wheel strut, it hurts.

Keep your head in the cab – that’s what it is there for. SAFETY!

BOAT: Public Byways

Byways Open to All Traffic - Off road enthusiasts use an Ordinance Survey map to find the best BOATS and green lanes in the south of England. The British rural countryside is riddled with hundreds of unexplored muddy bridleways and overgrown paths which make superb 4x4 green laning tracks - providing they are not restricted byways (RB).

BORDA Authorized Venues

The British Off Road Driving Association (BORDA) - is the country's only professional association which is dedicated to offroading at authorized venues around the UK. The British Off Road Driving Association is a professional organisation looking after the interest of its approved members with well developed site standards and training expertise.