DRIVING AND TOWING – 4WD DRIVING SKILLS
In this section we cover correct, safe, legal driving and towing practices – on and off road in great detail, to help you have happy and successful bush adventures.
We take driving for granted, but large 4WD vehicles demand specialised on-road and off-road skills and an appreciation of the effects of weight and a high centre of gravity.
It’s not uncommon for people to put petrol into their diesel fuel tanks and the results vary, from inconvenience to total engine failure. Here’s what to do.
Cameras can give drivers much needed help in today’s heavy traffic conditions, but there’s no way to retrofit the latest vehicles’ camera-activated autonomous braking into older vehicles. However, some camera-based technology can be fitted to any vehicle
The myth that yellow-tinted driving glasses can help you see better at night just won’t go away. Scientists have debunked the idea and you can read why right here.
The correct tyre pressure for any situation takes into account speed, load and the type of terrain. No one-pressure setting can handle all conditions.
We know you can’t put an old head on young shoulders, but there are alternatives to learning everything the hard way.
The OTA team has been driving around this magnificent country for a collective 200 years and we’ve picked up techniques from experts and from experience.
Snow driving falls into two categories: getting to the snowfields on plough-patrolled bitumen roads; and dirt road and trail driving. Both pursuits have their hazards.
Water has the potential to ruin your trip – you need to take extreme care with any water crossing, no matter how simple it looks.
Safely driving a loaded 4WD for days or weeks on end over corrugated dirt roads, dodging skittish kangaroos and suicidal emus, is no mean feat. Add to that the different off-road techniques necessary to conquer slimy clay climbs, steep, rocky descents, giant sand hills, deep mud ruts, icy or croc-infested creeks and incoming beach tides and you have a pretty respectable list of driving skills.
Rock-hopping is potentially dangerous, because if you make a serious error of judgment on a steep, rocky trail it’s easy to end up on your roof or wrapped around a tree.
To the old maxim that there are only two certainties in life – death and taxes – there’s now a third element: fuel prices will continue to rise. So what can be done to reduce the size of the hole in your pocket?
Around half of the new 4WDs sold come with part-time 4WD drivelines and our bet is that 99 percent of them will be improperly operated. The part-time driveline is poorly understood by 4WD owners and 4WD sales people.
Beach driving should be fun, so why is the waterfront the most dangerous place to operate your 4WD? Why are more people killed or injured and more vehicles seriously damaged or lost on beaches than on any other off-road surface?
The main attractions at off road competition events are usually the mud holes, because people just love seeing competitors deal with bottomless black ooze. It’s not so amusing, however, when you come across the same sort of stuff on an off-road trip.
The soft, powdery dust known as ‘bulldust’ is a common hazard on bush roads and there are many horror stories about vehicles disappearing in huge bulldust holes. Fortunately, most bulldust encounters are far less dramatic.
Most vehicles driving across the Australian desert dune fields are heavily loaded and some are towing trailers. That means a compromise between load capacity and the ideal tyre pressures.