Off-road Driving Tips for Tackling Any Terrain

Ford Motor Company believes that women can do anything they set their minds to. Armed with the right knowledge and tools it is now easier and safer than ever before to choose the road less traveled.

The following 10 tips will help the female-adventurer in you to smash all stereotypes of the macho 4×4 driver, and allow you to celebrate the power of being an independent woman.

1. Be prepared

Thoroughly plan your journey and bring a few essentials, such as a tow rope, a shovel, a spare tyre and tyre-changing kit, a portable air compressor, a GPS, and a cellphone. It’s also important to make sure you’re familiar with any rules or regulations concerning the area you’re travelling through.

2.Get to know your vehicle 

Learn how to engage specific features that are designed for off-road driving. For instance, Ford’s 4×4 vehicles, like the Ranger pick-up truck and Everest SUV, have a low-range setting and an electronic locking rear differential that help you in extreme conditions. Also, familiarise yourself with your vehicle’s dimensions and capabilities, as you may have to squeeze through some tight spaces, wade through water, or climb challenging obstacles.

3.Reduce your tyre pressure 

Reducing the air pressure in your tyres means more of each tyre touches the ground, distributing weight across more surface area and helping you stay on top of softer surfaces like sand or mud. Softer tyres also absorb more impact pressure, which protects your wheels and the rest of your vehicle in rocky terrains, and gives you a smoother ride over smaller bumps.

4.Use low range or the lowest gear available

Keeping your vehicle in low range gives you more control and power at low speeds. Increased control is exactly what you require when you are driving over highly technical or rocky terrain with reduced traction, or when tackling steep descents and ascents.

5.Drive as slowly as possible

Driving slowly lets your suspension absorb bumps for a more comfortable ride. It will also give you more time to examine your surroundings, and anticipate and react to situations. Some obstacles might require more speed to tackle, such as steep ascents, but most obstacles need little more than a walking pace.

6.Choose the best line 

There are often multiple ways to overcome an obstacle, and it’s important to choose the route that poses the least risk. To avoid potentially damaging the undercarriage of your vehicle, choose a line that ensures all four wheels maintain contact with the ground. Use a spotter if you’re unsure or can’t see what’s up ahead.

7.Approach water crossings with caution

Before you take on a major water crossing, you should be aware of your vehicle’s water wading ability. If the water looks safe to cross, enter slowly but maintain your speed, as stopping in deep water can cause components of the vehicle to flood.

8.Understand how to drive on different terrains

Different terrains call for different driving techniques. Ford’s smart Terrain Management System (TMS) optimises performance for different conditions, such as sand, rock, snow, mud, and grass. The system increases or reduces traction control and sensitivity of the throttle, and will change gear earlier or later in the rev counter, depending on the terrain you have selected.

9.Remember that it’s OK to turn around

If you are not confident in your ability to navigate the terrain ahead of you, either find another way around, or go back the way you came. If you ever feel unsafe or uncertain, there is no shame in turning your vehicle around.

10,Notify friends or relatives of your proposed plan and dates

Make sure your friends and family know your plans when you venture off the beaten track, especially if you’re heading into inaccessible areas with little or no mobile phone coverage.

 

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