Exploring our great outdoors by 4WD is a favourite pastime of Australians, however there are a number of factors to consider before setting out on your adventure.
We have prepared some tips for beginner 4WDers to ensure your off-road experience is a smooth one.
Whether can play a big factor in road, traffic and track conditions. Always check the current and expected weather conditions where you are intending on travelling. If it has been raining extensively, it may mean certain tracks are washed out or unsafe for travelling on. Don’t get caught out in a thunder storm or in a situation where a creek bed is now flooding.
Travel in groups
Travelling in groups of at least two or more 4WDs will ensure you can give each other a helping hand if you run into any trouble along the way. As a basic safety precaution, be certain one of your travel companions is an experienced four wheel driver. You can also share supplies such as tools, snacks and accessories between the group.
Regardless of whether you’re travelling in a group or solo, be sure to let somebody know where you are going and when they should expect you back, in case you get lost or stuck along the way.
Research the track
Before setting out, be sure to research the track you on which are planning on travelling. It’s important to check the difficulty rating of the track to ensure you aren’t tackling a trail that is more advanced than your skill level or that your 4WD can handle. Many tracks on public land are rated ‘easy’ to ‘very difficult’ by industry bodies, and you can also check the past experience of other keen four wheel drivers through local 4WD clubs and forums.
Also be sure to pack up-to-date maps and directions, as roads and conditions can change from time to time. It’s also important to carry both a GPS and a paper map to ensure you are fully prepared for anything. A satellite telephone is also an essential if you are travelling to areas outside of mobile phone range.
Plan your route
Know how long the trip should take all up, and expected travel times between each point along the way. Also research traffic conditions, potential hazards and where fuel stations and rest stops are located.
Factor in plenty of breaks. Try to stop each two hours when on the road to ensure you do not become fatigued. Additionally, try to take extra breaks when you are off-roading, as this type of driving requires extra concentration and attention.
Pack plenty of supplies for your journey, such as maintenance equipment (e.g. spare tyres and tool kits), spare fuel, winches, a shovel, plenty of water, esky, insect repellent, sunscreen and food. It’s also a good idea to carry a first aid or medical kit in case of any small injuries, insect bites or illnesses along the way.
Perform a health check on your 4WD first
Before you take off on your big 4WD trip make sure your vehicle has recently been serviced. It’s a good idea to get your vehicle checked-over by an expert, such as Tyrepower, to ensure it will stand up to the rigours of off-roading.
Visit your Tyrepower store
One final tip, to ensure your tyres are up to handling the conditions you are about to drive in, visit your local Tyrepower store to have them inspected before your trip. With over 250 stores in the Tyrepower network, there is bound to be one close to home.