Continuing our series of instructional videosfor four wheel drivers, today we’ll look at how best to tackle steep terrain.
Steep climbs or descents can be a challengefor any off roader, but some golden rules apply to help you get uphill or down safely,and with greater confidence.
Steep climbs and descents can be a challengeto any off roader, but some golden rules will help you get uphill or down safely and withmore confidence.
Of course, this advice is general in nature.
We’d recommend seeking professional trainingwith a four wheel drive club, or a training organisation, just like we have.
Before driving up or down a steep hill, it’simportant to inspect the terrain carefully.
Look for loose surface hazards, such as rocks,and be aware of the placement of ruts and tree routes.
Try and determine the smoothest path possible.
It can be difficult to access your cargo areashould you become stuck halfway up or down a steep hill, so it’s a good idea to keepyou recovery gear close to hand.
Consider fitting your D shackles and recoverystrap before setting off.
Climbing or descending a steep grade is allabout traction and momentum, so be sure to set your tyre pressures according to the terrain.
Your owner’s manual will provide more detail.
When it comes to steep hills, slow and steadywins the race.
We recommend selecting a low range four wheeldrive, and depending on the grade, first or second gear, and remember to keep a steadythrottle.
If fitted, you may also consider using yourdifferential lock.
Gear selection is equally important when headingdownhill.
Let your engine do the braking for you, asheavy brake application can result in an uncontrolled slide.
[Winston] There will be times you want to use thebrakes still, but the engine and the gearing will be doing most of the work for you.
It will slow the car right up, and as you’recoming over those really steep sections, yes, touch the brakes a little bit, if you feelyourself losing a little bit of traction, then release the brakes, and you’ll findthat all of a sudden your steering comes back into play again.
[Nadine] And remember, never drive across steepruts or attack a hill at an angle as this could result in a nasty role over.
If you can’t see where you’re going, havea friend help you over two-way radio or with clear visual instructions.
And if you get stuck, remember to set thepark brake, select park, and chock the wheels to prevent your vehicle from rolling away.
And if travelling in convoy, make sure youleave plenty of distance between yourself and the car in front.
There are no guarantees when off-roading,and a lot of variables, but preparation will always work in your favour.
Remember, take your time and assess each situationthoroughly, and you’ll get to your destination safely and more relaxed.