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How to Drive on Sand Without Getting Bogged

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How to Drive on Sand Without Getting Bogged

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Drive on Sand Without Getting Bogged - TJM Australia

All experienced 4x4 enthusiasts will remember the first time they got bogged on sand. Let’s be honest, it happens to all of us eventually! Some are luckier than others in that help arrives quickly and they can recover, while others may need to swallow their pride as their rig is swept out with the tide. Most people who buy their first 4x4 dream about driving along a pristine beach in the sunshine with a big smile in the rear view mirror. And yes, this is what 4x4 off-roading is all about! Travelling to remote destinations where few people have visited is an exhilarating adventure, but being adequately prepared is absolutely essential.
 
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned 4WDer, we’re all in a constant state of learning so today we’ll be shedding some insight and providing some tips on how to drive on sand without getting bogged.
 
Before you begin
Before beginning your journey on sand, always remember to lower your tyre pressure. By lowering your tyre pressure, the length of the tread pattern on your tyres are increased which disperses the weight of your 4x4 over a larger surface area. Many people believe that a good indicator of their tyres being sufficiently deflated is when their tyres are ‘bagging out’ in the sidewalls. Unfortunately, this is an unreliable indicator and the best way of checking if your tyres are sufficiently deflated is with a well-calibrated tyre pressure gauge.
 
The standard tyre pressure for driving on sand is between 16 and 18psi, but it’s important to keep in mind the weight of your cargo. If you’re driving a heavy load, you might want to reduce the pressure to around 14psi, but if you’re travelling light, you can probably get away with 20psi.
 
Technique
What’s equally important as the correct tyre pressure is your driving technique. Keep in mind that sand significantly reduces the power of your vehicle, and when you lose momentum on the sand, you can easily get bogged. Maintaining momentum is naturally easier in automatic 4WDs but more challenging in manuals. With manual vehicles, you’ll need to ensure you keep your revs slightly higher to keep the wheels turning and to give you some room to move when you hit a soft patch of sand. There’s no strict rules when it comes to gear selection, and the type of sand you’re driving on will make a significant difference, but keeping your 4WD in a low range is always recommended.
 
What to do if you get bogged?
If you get bogged and there’s no help around, it’s important that you don’t make matters worse by getting bogged deeper. I always carry beadlocks with me, which is a device that lock the tyre’s bead onto the rim of the wheel. Most people get bogged in soft powdery sand, so the first thing you need to do is lower your tyre pressure until you get traction. Generally, you can lower your tyre pressure to around 8psi without beadlocks, and to around 5psi if you do. Practice makes perfect is especially relevant to getting bogged in sand, so the more you get bogged, the better you’ll be at getting out!
 
Always remember that when you lower your tyre pressure to this level, your vehicle's handling is dramatically affected, so you need to be very cautious about any cornering not only to keep your vehicle from tipping, but to ensure your tyres stays on their rims. Also bear in mind that once the ground gets firm again, don’t forget to inflate your tyres. Many accidents have been caused from people forgetting to inflate their tyres after driving in sand.
 
Additional tips
●     Be cautious when turning
●     Be gentle on the brakes
●     Always drive above the high-tide mark so your vehicle doesn’t get swept away if you get bogged
●     Always use indicators if there are other drivers on the beach
●     Always bring a tyre gauge and never try to guess tyre pressure
●     Always bring a snatch strap and long-handled shovel
●     Always bring an air-compressor to inflate tyres when you hit the bitumen
●     Consider buying a UHF radio so you can ask for help
●     Consider buying beadlocks for when there’s no help around
 
There’s no doubt that driving along the beach is an experience we should all enjoy, but precaution must always be taken to ensure that you and everyone else on the beach stays safe. If you’re planning on driving on sand, always be adequately prepared and use plenty of common sense. If you need any 4WD products or accessories to make your next adventure more enjoyable, TJM Australia have you covered with a huge range of 4WD and camping accessories. For more information, phone our staff on 07 3865 9999.