Upgrade your 4x4ing skill set with these tips and tricks

G'DAY 4x4 enthusiasts.

Tony Hamilton, Gladstone Regional Recreational 4x4 Group
Tony Hamilton, Gladstone Regional Recreational 4x4 Group TONY HAMILTON


This week I would like to get a bit of information out about beach and sand driving.

Driving on sand requires a unique skill set.

If you expect your four-wheel drive to drive the same on sand as it does on a firm hard surface, you're in for a surprise.

Driving on the beach is a lot of fun but knowing the basic essential skills of beach driving will help to ensure you enjoy your trip.

Queensland has some of the best beach driving tracks in the world.

If you are heading out for a trip on Fraser, Curtis, or Facing Island, knowing these basic tips can help keep you from getting stuck.

The first step to avoid getting into trouble while driving on sand, is to be continually conscious of your safety and the safety of your passengers.


DON'T overload or make the 4wd top heavy.

Don't make sudden turns, rollovers are not uncommon.

Stay on the tracks to avoid damage to the ecosystem and the vehicle

Stay alert; be mindful of other vehicles, pedestrians and wildlife. Remember, due to the sound of the surf, pedestrians may not be able to hear an approaching vehicle. Keep your distance and be aware of them.

Drive on the left side of approaching vehicles. (Road rules apply to beach driving)

Indicate when overtaking.

Washouts can cause serious accidents, damage to 4WDs. Walk around the washout if you are unsure of its depth to make sure it is safe to cross.

Stick to speed limits and drive slower if you need too.

Before entering soft sand, engage four-wheel drive and lock in the 4wd hubs if applicable.

Keep your momentum when driving on soft sand.

Use low range gears when driving on dry, soft sand.

You may lower tyre pressure when driving on sand; 18psi is the general pressure used for sand/beach driving. However, keep within manufacturer's specification.

If reverting to driving on hard sand or surfaces, don't forget to re-inflate your tyres.


A difference in sand stability is never truer than when you are forced to drive higher on the shoreline because the tide is coming in.

A common challenge faced while beach driving is getting bogged down.

The easiest way to avoid being bogged is to drive at low tide near the shoreline.

When driving on an unsealed surface, it is important to maintain momentum. The chances of becoming stuck increase when you head uphill.

To lessen the chances of being stuck, pick the best line to travel and tyre pressures.

Remember, that when people get constantly stuck in the same spot, the sand in that area gets kicked up and becomes loose. The looser the sand the more it increases the chances of becoming stuck.

Keep level-headed and keep your speed and momentum whenever going through loose sand or going up an incline.

If you become bogged, take a break and think it through. Have passengers get out of the car and move to a safe area. Extra weight can make moving harder. Try to gain traction slowly.

If you are in an automatic, put your vehicle in the low gear and gently accelerate. If you are driving a manual vehicle, put it in a higher gear and release the clutch slowly. If that doesn't work, remove sand from in front of the tyres with a shovel.

When the sand has been moved away from the tyres, place a Maxtrax in front of the tyres that are spinning.

If you do not have a Maxtrax, anything that will increase traction will be of some assistance.

Carefully move forward until the tyre grips. Once the wheels have traction, gradually drive out.


IT WILL shear off and chances are will either kill or injury somebody.

Only use only proper rated recovery points. Most factory points on 4WDs are actually a "tow point" not a recovery point. Recovery point should have a stamped load rating.

Hope this info has been helpful for anyone considering a beach drive.

PS: Don't forget your fishing rods...

Hope to see you out on the tracks...



Long-handle shovel

UHF radio

Tyre pressure gauge

First aid kit

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