One minute you’re cruising down a sand dune, having the time of your life, and the next, you’ve dug your tires into a hole. Ah, the highs and lows of off-roading. To deal with the lack of traction on sandy surfaces, it’s important to take a few extra precautions. Whether you’re on a beach or in a desert, here are some essential tips for safely off-roading in sand to keep in mind.
Reduce Your Tire Pressure Slightly
A simple way to make off-roading in the sand a bit safer and easier is to reduce your tire pressure slightly. By deflating your tires a little bit, you can increase their surface area on the ground. As a result, your vehicle will have more traction and a lower likelihood of losing grip or digging into soft sandy surfaces. If you plan on reducing your tire pressure while driving on the sand, just make sure to keep a portable tire inflator on hand so you can re-inflate them to the recommended level before heading back out on paved roads.
Avoid Rapid Accelerations
Another tip for safely off-roading in sand is to avoid rapidly accelerating. Quick accelerations could cause your wheels to spin and dig into the ground. As such, you should do your best to maintain consistent momentum rather than quickly pressing down on the gas pedal at any time while driving over sand.
Refrain From Making Sharp Turns—Especially on an Incline or Decline
In addition to avoiding rapid bursts of acceleration, you should also refrain from making sharp turns. Any sudden turns could cause your tires to slip off the rims while their pressure is lower.
Making smooth turns becomes particularly important when on an incline or decline. While driving up or down a sand dune, never attempt to turn around. If you decide that you would rather go down the hill than up it, simply reverse and go backward in a straight line. By attempting to turn your vehicle around, you place yourself at great risk of rolling over, as the sand could shift at any moment.
Bring Recovery Equipment Just in Case
While it’s nice to hope for the best, you should always plan for the worst when it comes to off-roading. Despite taking the aforementioned efforts to avoid getting stuck, accidents can still happen. To ensure you’re able to get out of a bind if your tires dig into the sand or you lose traction, it’s important to have recovery gear on hand. Some of the most effective tools for getting out of a sticky situation include traction pads, a shovel, and recovery straps.
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