When you drive off-road, you partner with your rig to overcome obstacles, avoid getting stuck, and find the best path forward. You have to understand your surroundings and your vehicle’s capabilities to stay safe and have fun.
One crucial off-roading skill you should master is driving at the right speed—find out why knowing the right speed while off-roading is important.
1. Go Too Fast, Risk Damaging Your Vehicle
While an exhilarating sport, off-roading isn’t the bumpy version of driving on a racetrack. Speeding isn’t the point; you need to drive at the right speed for your trail conditions.
Think of driving fast as a quick way to damage your vehicle. The faster you drive, the harder you fling debris, increasing the chance of scratching or gouging the exterior of your ride. Coming off an obstacle too quickly can lead to bottoming out, and moving too fast down a hill will cause you to apply your brakes more often, risking overheating your brakes.
2. Maintain Momentum To Avoid Getting Stuck
Driving too fast can damage your vehicle, and driving too slowly can cause you to get stuck, which is why it’s important for you to know the right speed for your off-roading conditions. One of the most common problems off-roaders face is losing traction.
When you drive on a loose surface like mud, sand, or snow, your tires can dig ruts into the ground. Rather than propelling you forward, applying more gas can make your tires dig in further. However, you don’t want to come to a complete stop, either, as it’ll be very hard for you to regain momentum on the slippery ground.
The key to minimizing your chance of getting stuck is to drive at a slow and steady pace. And if you do get stuck, use recovery gear to help you out.
3. Give Yourself Time To React
Another essential reason to drive at a slow and steady pace is to give yourself time to think through and execute your driving strategy. Many moments on the trail require methodical driving. Whether you’re figuring out how to get over or around an obstacle, driving over soft terrain, or driving on a crowded trail, you need enough time to react to the circumstances.
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