Off-road driving: Practical tips

For a driver, there is nothing worse than unexpectedly hitting off-road on the way. Off-road driving is fraught with severe consequences. First of all – for the car. Then the psyche of the driver himself suffers, although the cases are different.

First, let’s find out what off-road is. Namely – what it can be like.

  • Pits, potholes on the asphalt;
  • Puddles;
  • Mud road.

Perhaps, these three types of roads are most often encountered by a motorist on his way. Let’s take a look at how to drive safely on every kind of road.

Pits, potholes in the asphalt.

This is the most common type of road. Sooner or later, every motorist encounters him. However, not everyone knows how to drive through holes correctly. The consequences of improper driving are damage to the undercarriage of the machine. Pits can also cause accidents. Therefore, you should not ignore this danger – the pits are not as harmless as they might seem. What is the correct way to drive on the road with holes?

  • If possible, it is better to go around the pit.
  • If it is impossible to go around the pit, then there are two ways to overcome this obstacle – overshooting and crawling safely.


This method is based on the principle of the machine itself. When the car brakes, all of its mass is concentrated on the front end. It is clear that under such a weight, the hood seems to be nodding.

It follows from this that if you press the brake pedal before entering a dangerous area, the car will receive two strong blows – at the entrance (due to the release of the spring due to loss of stability) and the exit. And on the road, the primary damage occurs – disks and tyres breakthrough. Therefore, when entering a section of the road with potholes, do not press the brake pedal. The speed reduction must be carried out using the clutch and gearbox.

Consequently, before entering the pit, it is necessary to increase the speed as strange as it sounds. Thus, the load on the front suspension elements will be reduced and transferred to the rear. Because of this property, the car can fly through the pits.

However, not everything is so simple here. You must remember that it is necessary to unload the rear. As soon as the car has passed with its front end, you need to empty the body by pressing the brake.


If the previous method is more suitable for experienced drivers, this movement option is created for beginners. It consists of the fact that you need to slow down in front of the pit, but not at the brake pedal’s expense. If you didn’t have time to slow down, go as fast as you did. At the very least, the chassis will remain intact.

It is safest to drive through holes at first or second speed. It all depends on the type of road and the professional skills of the driver.


Shallow puddles do not pose a severe hazard. But big puddles are a powerful reason not only to think about but also to cancel the trip altogether. But after rain, entire rivers can form on the roads. In solving such a problem, a unique approach is needed.

For an ordinary passenger car, the safe water height is 20-25 cm. This figure can increase up to 30 cm for crossovers. SUVs can quickly plough puddles with a height of 50 to 70 cm.

By themselves, such puddles are dangerous for several reasons:

  • Unknown, what road damage is hidden behind a puddle. Perhaps there is a deep hole or pothole.
  • Water can get under the hood, which is fraught with a reduction in the transmission service life and a more obvious sign – engine shutdown. Prolonged exposure to water can further aggravate the situation. After such an incident, you can tune in to severe repairs.

When moving through puddles, you need to assess the situation soberly. If the clearance does not allow you to cross the water safely, it is better to abandon this venture and find a detour.

If there are no detour routes, it is impossible to reschedule the trip; there is also no time to wait until the water subsides, then you should remember that:

  • The speed of movement should be 10 km / h. This will help you drive through the holes more safely and not create waves. It is because of the wave that water can get under the hood;
  • Engine speed – 2500 rpm. At lower rpm, there is a risk of water entering the exhaust pipe. The consequences will not please anyone.

Mud road.

This is the most dangerous and unpredictable type of off-road. It is best not to drive on a mud road but to wait for better times when the mud dries up. But if there is no time to wait, you need to connect your analytical and creative abilities. But first, analyse the situation. And there may be two options.

  • In front of you is a small patch of mud (about 10 m). You can try to drive such a section in one sitting, accelerating to 60 km / h in second gear. In no case should you slow down the speed; otherwise, you can get stuck, and this situation is not hopeless, but there is little pleasure in it either.
  • In front of you is a section of the road on which there is so much dirt that the edge’s end is not visible. Here you won’t be able to slip quickly. The situation calls for a more delicate approach. The first thing to do is to mark the trajectory of the movement. To do this, you need to take an ordinary long stick and pierce the entire dangerous gap with it, concluding the dirt’s height and the soil that makes it up. Moreover, the stick should firmly abut against the ground under a layer of dirt. Having determined the height, you need to compare it with the vehicle’s clearance. If he allows, then you can go. What does the soil type indicate? Sandy soil increases the chances of driving out if the machine gets dirty. But clay and black earth are dangerous in that they suck in the car, it starts to slip, so it will be challenging to choose. Usually, the vehicle cannot get out for two reasons. The first is if the driving wheels are slipping. But this problem is not that difficult to deal with. If the wheels “sat on their belly”, then here you need to tinker thoroughly. But not everything is so hopeless if there is a chain for the drive wheels. This is a great thing, with which neither snow, nor ice, nor dirt is afraid. You need to put them on before driving through a hazardous area.

What if the car gets stuck?

  1. If the front wheels are slipping, you need to dig them out and clean the ​​50 cm radius from each side of the wheels from dirt. You should sprinkle this area with sand, pebbles or tree branches – whatever comes to hand. You need to get out in this way carefully, without pressing the gas pedal – on the clutch. After you get out, you can only stop on a hard surface.
  2. If the car sits on its belly, only a jack will help. The vehicle will need to be lifted. But to do this with a jack, you must install it on a stable and non-slippery surface. There is no universal recipe – you need to look at the situation.

If you managed to get out of the mud, then the first step is to wash the car well. You must pay particular attention to the internal elements – no dirt should remain in them.

And no, you do not need to spend a ton of money to get the correct tyres for your vehicle. There are some excellent tested and tried best budget SUV tyres that will do the job just fine.

For a car, there is nothing worse than dirt. Therefore, it is better to avoid the mud road.