20 Aug Tips for 4WD Beach Trips
Four-wheel driving on the beach is quintessentially an Australian pastime. Whether you’re doing this for the love of it or as a necessity to get to a camping site, there are things to consider before you hit the road.
Follow these tips to make your ride as much as an adventure as it is smooth, safe and hassle-free:
- Research on Rules and Regulations
Some beaches don’t allow the use of vehicles. Check out local council websites or call the local tourist information centre to be sure. When they do allow vehicles, follow their set schedule and use the marked access routes. This will reduce damage to the dune ecosystem.
- Lighten Your Load
The lighter the vehicle, the less likely it could get bogged. Remove unnecessary fittings before you head out. In the event that you do get stuck in the sand, unload all passengers before you attempt to drive out.
- Lower Your Tyre Pressure
Most 4WD vehicles have a road-driving tyre pressure between 32-38psi. Let a bit of air our out to provide more traction and lengthen the footprint of your tyres. Aim to get pressure between 18 and 25psi in each tyre. There may be a lag in steering and braking response so make sure you’re aware of these changes. Re-inflate the tyres when you come off the beach.
- Check The Tides
It’s the best time to drive within two hours of low tide. You’ll be surprised how quickly tides creep up. Always pack a tide chart and check it before you head out. A great tip is to start your journey on an outgoing high tide so that the sand will be firm and easier to drive onto.
- Keep The Momentum
Sand can be unforgiving when you have the wrong speed, this may cause rollovers. The key is is to choose a speed that offers both momentum and control. Ideally, driving under 40km per hour can reduce your chance of getting stuck. Avoid hitting the brakes hard as your tyres may dig into the sand.
- Be Prepared If You Get Bogged
At some point, you may get bogged. Don’t try to accelerate as this will dig your tyres in deeper. Try reversing out first. Make sure you pack your essential recovery gear. Shovel, traction aids, snatch strap kit, shackles, tyre deflator are some of the things that you need when you get stuck.
- Follow Road Rules
You may be driving on a different surface, but road rules still apply. Wear seatbelts, follow speed limits, do not drink-driving, etc.
When you’re on an adventure like 4-wheel driving alongside the ocean on the pristine white sand, it pays to be prepared. It is a fantastic way to enjoy nature, experience the power of your vehicle and to put your driving skills to a fun test.
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