No matter how experienced a driver you may be, heading off-road presents a whole new world of challenges and excitement. If you’re planning your first excursion on an off-road track, it’s crucial that you’re properly prepared and have the right tools and features to make the trip a success. Heading out off-road unprepared can be dangerous, and could lead you into unnecessarily uncomfortable situations. Be aware of these essential off-road tips before you start.

  1. Invest in your wheels. There’s no use even attempting to take your vehicle off-road if you don’t have wheels that can handle the terrain. Invest in good quality 4×4 wheels and tyres to make sure you can still drive once you veer away from standard paving. If something seems too cheap to be any good, you should trust your gut and stay away. This is a real investment; so opt for reliable options with a great track record if you want to make your off-road adventures into a regular hobby.
  2. Start simple. Don’t drive out onto really tough terrain on your first off-road excursion. You could easily end up stuck in a spot with no phone reception and be left with a hefty damage bill at the end of it all. Start off with a relatively easy track that you feel comfortable tackling – firm terrain works best, as well as hills that aren’t too steep or rocky. However excited you may be about your new vehicle, don’t run before you can walk.

  3. Keep your eyes on the terrain. One of the most crucial skills any off-road driver needs to learn is how to read the terrain in front of them at any given time. Keep your focus on the terrain ahead of you at all times so you can assess the level of danger it might present to your vehicle. Then consider what level of momentum will be needed to get through it, and which driving tools you need to use to successfully pass an obstacle. It may sometimes be necessary to climb out of your vehicle and check the terrain visually closer up before you drive forward. The worst thing you could do is to rush, so take your time and consider your options carefully before making a move.

  4. Get plenty of practice. Before you head out on any major trail adventures, give yourself plenty of opportunities to practice your off-road driving skills. Progress through simple terrains and challenge yourself very gradually. On your first few drives, be sure to take a friend along with you with some experience of off-road driving. They can lend an extra hand when things get tough and help you learn how things are done.

  5. Use recovery tracks sooner rather than later. Recovery tracks shouldn’t be neglected until you’re in a total emergency. Be safe rather than sorry and use them as soon as you encounter an obstacle. It’ll prevent any damage from taking place before it has a chance to happen.

  6. Go steady on momentum. Getting your momentum right is the key to successful off-road driving. Try to maintain a steady momentum throughout your drive, even when obstacles appear at unexpected auto moments. You may feel an impulse to increase the throttle at certain points – try to ignore that and stick with gradual, consistent momentum instead.