Beach driving essentials

Michael Browning — 29 November 2011

Driving on the sand is a great experience, as long as you are well prepared and remain alert.

GENERAL TIPS

  • Engage locking hubs and 4WD when on the sand
  • Select low gears and reduce tyre pressures to around 20psi for soft, dry sand
  • Avoid sharp turns and sudden braking
  • Normal road rules apply on beaches and inland tracks

ON THE BEACH

  • Travel at low tide, or within two hours either side of low tide
  • Stay on the harder sand between the waterline and the high tide mark
  • Avoid the salt water – apart from the corrosive effect it may have on your vehicle, you might become stuck

WATCH OUT FOR

  • Rocks – do not attempt to pass them if the tide is high
  • Washouts (ditches in the sand created by the surf and creeks). They are particularly dangerous at high speed
  • Pools left by the falling tide that hide dangerously soft sand. Vehicles stuck in these are difficult to rescue. Pass on the high side, close to the dry sand

ALWAYS PACK

  • Tyre gauge
  • Air pump
  • Water
  • Tow rope
  • Snatch strap and shovel
  • First-aid kit


Source: Caravan World Jun 2011.