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The challenge of taking your vehicle off road, driving in inclement weather, or driving on otherwise unfamiliar terrain, might sound thrilling, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t know how to properly navigate it. Safety hazards can surprise you, and if you don’t know how to traverse them, you could end up damaging your vehicle and injuring yourself, or worse. In the unfortunate event that you are involved in an accident, there are law firms like Marks and Harrison that can help you get compensated for your injuries. But, the goal is to avoid an accident in the first place. Before you head out for your next adventure, consider these tips on how to drive on different terrains.
Mud develops in different densities and depths, but all forms of mud turn ground surface that is usually stable into a slippery, wet mess. If you encounter a particularly muddy area, take a minute to survey the path or road before venturing onto it. A quick visual assessment can save hours of time, as well as a lot of money and pain, if it’s determined that the road is just too difficult for your vehicle.
When driving on muddy surfaces, close the windows so mud won’t fly in and create a distraction. As far as speed and direction go, it’s critical to continue moving forward as slowly as possible, but as fast as is necessary. The goal is to minimize the spinning of your wheels. Try to maintain the same gear without having to shift up or down because that will decrease your momentum.
The vehicle is going to opt for the least resistant path. Don’t fight it. Instead, relax your fingers a bit, and maintain control through your palms. Over steering and sudden acceleration could cause you to lose control and get stuck in the mud, or worse, into an accident.
To minimize the risk of a rollover, hills should be driven straight up, and not diagonally. Also, avoid turning on particularly steep hills, if possible. Too high a gear won’t allow for enough power, and will interfere with your ability to control the vehicle. So, use a gear that keeps your wheels from spinning while still providing enough power to keep the car moving.
When descending steep hills, approach them in first gear, use your brakes sparingly, and only tap them lightly. If your car skids, very gently press on the accelerator to regain traction and control.
As innocuous as grass appears, it can be one of the most difficult terrains to drive on, even surface or not. When grass is dry, it can be fairly easy to navigate unless it is particularly tall and hides hazards, such as tree stumps or unseen holes. However, when grass is wet it can be as slippery, unpredictable, unforgiving, and dangerous as ice. Regardless of whether grass is wet or dry, however, minimize wheel spin by keeping your car in second or third gear. Always drive slowly to allow yourself time to respond to hazards, and to lessen the impact if you do hit an object.
In the case of dry grass, pollen and seeds are released that can easily clog up your engine. So, if you need to drive on grass for any sustained period of time, regularly clear out the seeds to prevent your engine from overheating.
Each type of terrain calls for a different driving technique in order to effectively and safely navigate it. Driving off road, or on terrain you’re not used to, is sometimes necessary, and some people do it intentionally because they enjoy the thrill of it. Either way, employing strategic tips relative to the terrain you’re driving on can go a long way in helping you reach your destination safely.