Keep your family, yourself and other campers safe – read up on beach driving safety before you go!
Whether you are new to 4WD driving on the beach, or have clocked a few k’s on the sand – there may be some valuable tips in here…
1. TRACTION OFF
With most modern vehicles, you need to turn off traction control/stability control because if you don’t the engine will slowly bog itself.
2. UNDER PRESSURE
Tyre pressure should be reduce to about 22psi to increase the tyre footprint. You can go less if required depending on the sand conditions.
3. FIRM SAND
If driving on a surf beach typically affected regularly by surf, drive as close as reasonably safe to the edge of the surf line, because that is where the sand is firmest.
4. SLOW DOWN
Limit speed to between 60-70 km per hour in soft sand, and drive if in an automatic preferably in low range to reduce the chance of overheating the car’s transmission.
5. AVOID SUDDEN DIRECTION CHANGES
As you are travelling with reduced tyre pressure, avoid sudden or severe direction changes. This is because the front wheels can bite hard, potentially resulting in a dangerous rollover. Actually, this is the most common reason for a rollover.
When loading your vehicle keep the centre of gravity as low as possible. Do not load heavy items on the roof-racks. When packing the vehicle, pack heavy items towards the centre of the load area and ideally towards the front of the load area. This also ensures weight is maintained on the front wheels for better steering.
When towing on the beach – avoid high tide if you can or soft sand as much as practical – reduce the tyre pressure of the trailer/van as well. As a guide: normal 36 psi reduces to 22 on the sand and 38 reduces to 24.
Thanks to Nigel for his 4WD tips! He’s had 18 years beach driving and working on Fraser Island.
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