Tips for Driving on Bumpy Roads

Follow these eleven tips to learn how to protect your vehicle while driving on rough terrain.

| May 2018

  • bumpy-roads
    Find new ways to get across the terrain and tricks to help keep your vehicle moving.
    Photo by GettyImage/Ladislav-Kubeš
  • outdoor-guide
    “The Great Outdoors” by Brendan Leonard, is the ultimate guide for outdoor excursions.
    Courtesy of Artisan Books

  • bumpy-roads
  • outdoor-guide

The Great Outdoors (Artisan Books, 2017) by Brendan Leonard, can be a great study tool for those looking to do more outdoor exploring. This guide can teach readers about safety precautions to make before embarking on a journey and necessary steps that need to be made. Find this excerpt in Chapter 1, “Man versus Wild.” 

Sinuhe Xavier, professional commercial filmmaker for off-road clients like Land Rover and Toyota.

Xavier has driven thousands of miles of gnarly roads throughout the world in his film work and as creative director for Overland Journal. He shares his tips for navigating bumpy, rutted, rocky roads in the backcountry:

1. Go as slow as possible and as fast as necessary when navigating difficult terrain. Don’t be afraid to take your time getting over an obstacle, because doing it right once slowly will take less time than hurrying through it and getting stuck.

2. Lower the pressure in your tires to 20 PSI for a smoother ride and better traction on washboard roads.

3. Use your floor mats as traction devices when nothing else can be found. 

4. Travel with another vehicle when possible, in case you become stuck and need a tow out of a situation or just a small pull or push.

5. Never cross a body of water without knowing how deep the water is all the way across.

6. If you are unsure of what lies above the horizon or around the bend, get out of the car and walk it first.

7. Turning around is not failure.

8. Put your tires on the highest point of an obstacle. This will lift everything up, giving you more clearance.

9. Know the following numbers about your vehicle: approach angle (the maximum angle from the ground of an incline or obstacle that the front of your vehicle can clear), departure angle (the maximum angle from the ground of an incline or obstacle that the rear of your vehicle can clear), and break-over angle (the angle between the bottom of your tires and the midpoint of your vehicle’s underside).

10. Four-wheel drive does not give you superpowers.

11. Four-wheel drive only gives you the skills to get stuck farther away from help.

More from The Great Outdoors: 

Leave No Trace Camping and Hiking

Excerpted from The Great Outdoors by Brendan Leonard (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2017. Illustrations by Seth Neilson.


6/1/2018 8:14:41 AM

On ice, four wheel drive does not equate to four wheel stop, all vehicles have the same braking ability or lack of it on ice. Decades ago, I found that driving on the opposite side on a "washboard" road gives a smoother ride than on the proper side as the backside of the ripples are sloped less steeply. You'll still get a suspension workout, but it won't be a total beating.



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