How to drive safe and sure when you’re off-road
Goodyear’s Wrangler DuraTrac tyre was recently voted the best off-road truck tyre by readers of ‘Off Road’ magazine. It’s the fifth year running that it’s won the accolade, and once more the tyre polled over 20% of the votes from 20,000 readers. Goodyear has now won best off-road tyre in the annual poll every year that the magazine’s readers have been surveyed.
Goodyear’s Chief Marketing Officer for Europe said, “This award is particularly important for us because the readers of ‘Off Road’ magazine are true experts with high demands when it comes to off-road tyres. It shows that the Wrangler DuraTrac lives up to its promises.”
In this article, you’ll learn how to get the best from the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tyre, or any other off-road truck tyre you buy.
1. Drive with momentum rather than acceleration
When you’re driving in muddy conditions, or through sand, avoid the temptation to put your foot down on the accelerator. Instead, you should accelerate into the mud or sand and use your momentum to travel, keeping your speed constant. It will prevent your truck tyres from spinning, losing traction, and becoming stuck.
2. Select the right gear and turn off the ‘diff lock’
It’s best to drive in a lower gear and make your engine work harder when driving through mud or sand. If your truck has a differential lock (a diff lock) make sure it’s turned off. The diff lock makes sure that wheels on the same axle rotate at the same speed. On smooth roads this is great, but off-road you’ll want to allow the wheels to rotate with resistance. A wheel with less resistance will spin faster, and you’ll get more grip.
3. Don’t fight resistance, and brake gently
As you drive off-road, you’ll come across a range of different terrains. You’ll meet resistance, too. Don’t fight this. Go with the flow. Your off-road truck tyres will find the best route through.
When driving through mud or sand, deflate your tyres a little. It increases the footprint and helps you to accelerate in a lower gear as you build momentum to carry you through. Always accelerate and brake gently.
4. Plan the course ahead
As you are driving through different terrains, try to plan the course you want your vehicle to take. Rocky outcrops are particularly tough on truck tyres, and sand can hide sharp rocks below. These could slash your tyres and damage your truck. Remember, your tyres will try to find a way through, so don’t fight resistance. Instead, use it to inform your course.
5. Don’t drown the engine!
When you’re crossing a river or flood, take extra care. You may not see rocks in the water. Sandy bottoms can quickly suck you in. Look at the terrain around the water to figure out what type of river bed you are probably dealing with.
Take note of the flow of water if you are crossing a river. It can tell you a lot about how you should traverse the river, and where you should enter and exit.
Disconnect or jam the fan belt to avoid it damaging the radiator or causing water to splash over your vehicle’s electrics.
Drive at a steady speed, and once clear of the water brake gently to lose water from the brakes. Stop, check the truck over. Look at the engine, gearbox, and axle oil for signs of water. If the oil is a milky colour, it means water has mixed with it. If this is the case, you’ll need to drain the oil and replace before continuing.
6. Drive with company
It’s always best to make off-road trips with at least two vehicles. If you get stuck, the other vehicle can haul you out (providing you have the right equipment – tow ropes and shovels, for example).
7. Remember that your company changes terrain
The vehicle in front of you will change the terrain as it passes over it. Rocks get dislodged, and mud and sand become ridged and rutted. Coming out of rivers, banks can become extra slippery. Watch for changing terrain and alter course and momentum accordingly.
8. Know how to get unstuck
Everyone gets stuck at least once when driving off-road. Here’s how to get unstuck:
- Don’t panic.
- Attempt to reverse the way you came, slowly.
- If this doesn’t work, start digging!
- Dig around your truck tyres to clear a run-off.
- Place the mats or branches where you have dug to provide your off-road tyres with extra grip.
- Use a low gear to creep through, accelerating slowly to build momentum.
- If you are with company, if it’s possible to do so always have them pull you out.
9. Buy the very best off-road truck tyres you can afford
Finally, don’t neglect your tyres when planning an off-road trip. Check your tyres before you leave, and make sure they are the best your budget can buy. And, whatever you do, do not neglect your spare.
Contact Darra Tyres today and make sure you are properly prepared to go off-road in Queensland. We have an extensive range of off-road and truck tyres to suit all vehicles and budgets.
Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,