www.australian4wd.com.au recommend the following checklist of basics to take with you when going off road in your vehicle:
- First aid kit
- Basic personal essentials (water, food etc.)
- Spare tyre
- Workable tyre changing equipment
- Tow strap
- Recovery equipment (i.e. snatch strap or maxtrax)
- Basic tool kit
- Spare key for your car
When it comes to 4WDing it is definitely best to leave your ego at home. Driving off road is difficult and nature can be unforgiving. It is better to drive slowly and carefully whilst remaining extremely focussed. If you aren’t sure about something up ahead do not plough through the obstacle and hope for the best. This is a fast way to damage your car or worse - yourself and your passengers.
4WD Placement of Hands on the Wheel
Driving off road is very different to driving on road. When driving on road it makes sense to hold the wheel at 10 to 2 with a tight grip however in off road 4WD driving the wheel can spin suddenly when the wheels of your car find a large rut or bump and can cause injury to your hand, wrist or arms. For this reason is to hold a loose grip on the outside of the wheel allowing it to slide in your hands and find gaps and ruts naturally. Make sure the keep your fingers and thumbs on the outside of the wheel at all time when off-roading.
One of the scariest and toughest parts of the 4WD journey is crossing through water. The water is not the natural environment for your car and therefore it is very important to take a lot of care when attempting a river crossing. One gulp of water into your air-intake and your engine is done for. This and other problems such as aqua plaining where your car may be turned into the wrong direction are problems that can arise by going to fast into the water. One must also check the depth and ensure the current is not too strong when entering the water in the vehicle to ensure the car will not be swept down river.
It is best to enter the water between 7-10km/h and to keep a steady pace once in. A good guide is to ensure you are not going faster than the bow wave that your car is creating. Try to not stop once you are in the water and if you try to stay calm, restart your engine and get out of the water. If all else fails you will need someone to pull you out with a winch – which is why it’s always better to travel in convoy with at least one other car.