While the boys and the boss are attending the Sydney 4WD & Adventure Show this weekend, the rest of us have decided to run off & join those who are able to enjoy the great outdoors in this wonderful part of Australia. Some are off to the beaches, while some are off to tackle the muddy inland after quite a bit of rain, as much of Australia has experienced recently.
As you all know, we specialise in frontal protection, so our employees, families & friends are almost all avid 4WD enthusiasts, campers, glampers & explorers. We do get where you are coming from most of the time & all do our best to enjoy the tracks trails & roads in a responsible manner.
To stay in the picture, today we thought we would share with you some tips for safe driving in mud, so here we go . . . .
There are so many types of soils, from heavy, gluey clay to the renowned “black earth”, as we know it in Australia, “black gumbo” in East Texas, and “black cotton” soils in East Africa & India – A great way to get mud under you skirt after substantial rains. Dealing with different types of mud is approached in similar ways, the only real difference is how your tyres will clog up & become slick.
Preparation and planning is key:
As in all driving situations, ensure both you & your vehicle are prepared for what’s ahead, then plan how to cross, keep it simple & safe.Thick gooey mud tends to favor wide tyres as they give some form of flotation, similar to wide tyres in the sand. Lower tyre pressures can help, but its best not to lower tyre pressures below 20-25psi for mud.
- Check the depth of the mud BEFORE driving in to it.
- Make sure there are no deep ruts left by larger vehicles for your vehicle to hang on. Just because another vehicle got through, don’t assume that yours will. Do the checking.
- Check to see that the mud is not too deep for your vehicle. Is there firm ground underneath? Even so the depth of mud may still pose the problem.
- Lock your hubs – no freewheeling in these situations.
- Ensure your vehicle is in Low range 1 to start with.
- Don’t control the speed with the clutch, release the clutch pedal all the way & let the vehicle crawl through at a very slow speed to ensure your tyres are biting through.
- Try no. 2 to get yourself moving faster, on & upwards. If you do start slipping, ease off & change back down to regain control.
- Keep your wheels straight. If you angle the wheels from the direction you are traveling, it only adds resistance in going forward.
- You may need to differ slightly when climbing & when descending steep muddy hills.
The depth of mud and its consistency is a factor in regard to speed to go through. Push your way through with minimum wheel spin using the engine not power, spinning wheels lose traction. Control & knowing your vehicle & it’s capabilities are critical. 90% of the time if you select reverse you will be able to get out the way you came in.
If the type of mud has very little liquid, it will clog up tyres easily, unless you have tyres with self-cleaning tread pattern. More liquid types of mud does help to clean the tyre as you go through. Normal highway tyres won’t measure up in the mud, so don’t risk it.
There are some great tips & trips across the internet within 4WD media, so do some research, check your destination & stay safe.
Now the rains seem to have established themselves for the season take care and enjoy your adventures & enjoy cleaning the vehicle.
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